Veterans owning homes is goal of program

Published 02/13 2014 11:49AM

Updated 08/13 2014 10:48AM

ILLINOIS -- The state is expanding what it calls the "Welcome Home Heroes" program. It helps service men and women buy homes. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains how it could help hundreds of families.

"There's times where we're just sitting there, watching TV and you just look around the house and it's like, 'Wow. We own this.'"

That's a feeling Jonas Harger and his wife never thought they'd get to experience. Harger served four years overseas and now works as a Sangamon County prosecutor. He says he makes enough money to pay the bills, but wouldn't have been able to save up for a down-payment.

That's where the state's Welcome Home Heroes program comes in. It gives veterans a $10,000 grant to put down on a home. So far, more than 1,000 have taken advantage and the state hopes to push that number even higher.

"We're adding another $5 million that will help 500 more families buy a house in the state of Illinois."

Harger says being a homeowner has changed his life and he says the new funding will give other veterans a much needed boost.

"There are a lot of people in the state of Illinois that need help and Governor Quinn, and the people of Illinois can't help everyone because they need to help themselves, but if you're going to look for some people to help, it's always a good idea to take a gander at your veterans and see how they're doing and see if you can give them a helping hand."

The Welcome Home Heroes program applies to any current or retired military, even if you're not a first-time home-buyer.

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