Stories of Impact

Michael and Alissa Bolz of Lansing

Their rehab of a house next-door restored their property value Michael and Alissa Bolz of Lansing, Ill. used to live next door to a run-down, vacant property that was formerly owned by Michael’s grandfather. That property, vacant for two years, was eroding the value of their current home at the time—a home that was built by Michael’s grandfather in the late 1950s. So the Bolzes decided to do something about it.  In 2016, they decided they would try to purchase that home, fix it up and live in it. They submitted a bid for the house through the Cook County [...]

By | 2020-09-21T14:48:59+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Michael and Alissa Bolz of Lansing

Keya Banks, Harvey Resident

Rebuilding her life in a house that is her “castle” Keya Banks said her family and friends thought she was off her rocker when she decided to purchase a vacant home in Harvey, a town that’s known for depressed home values. But when Keya saw her home, she had a vision. “When I saw this house, I said this is it. This is a castle for a queen,” said Banks, who had previously rented a condo in Oak Forest after going through a divorce. “I decided that I didn’t need to be defined by my zip code. The house itself [...]

By | 2020-09-22T10:38:56+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Keya Banks, Harvey Resident

Jose Luis Lopez of Hermosa of Chicago

The Land Bank made homeownership near Lopez’s childhood neighborhood affordable Jose Luis Lopez wanted to live in the Hermosa neighborhood, where he was raised.  But the home prices are high, and that made it hard for him to get a bank loan. “Because I am self- employed, it’s complicated to get lending at a high price point,” said Lopez, who has his own home inspection business. Lopez learned about the Cook County Land Bank Authority’s Homebuyer Direct Program, which sells vacant homes to homebuyers at below-market rates, as long as they rehab the property and then live in the home. [...]

By | 2020-09-21T14:52:43+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Jose Luis Lopez of Hermosa of Chicago

Jillian Hardy of Richton Park

Eviction from one home landed woman in a vacant home that became her own When Jillian Hardy's father died in August 2016, she sank into a depression.  She took off work for seven months and stopped paying her bills.  As a result, she got an eviction notice for her Lansing, Ill., home, where she lived for 18 years.  She immediately began looking for another house and found a vacant property in Richton Park through the Cook County Land Bank Authority’s website. Using the services of a realtor, she visited the house, prayed over it, anointed each door knob and claimed [...]

By | 2020-09-21T14:55:05+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Jillian Hardy of Richton Park

Tamara Crossley of Chicago Heights

A house that once sat vacant in Chicago Heights is now bustling with its activity from its new owner Tamara Crossley and her two teenage children. “I love the home,” she said. “I love the neighborhood. I encourage anyone to utilize the services of the Land Bank. I think it’s a great opportunity not only for people to become homeowners, but to be able to come into something where you’re not under water, where you do have equity in your home.” In August 2019, Tamara purchased the four-bedroom, two-bath home for $71,407 through the Land Bank’s Homebuyer Direct Program, which [...]

By | 2020-09-21T12:34:30+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Tamara Crossley of Chicago Heights

Cook County Land Bank Authority Keeps Flower Business Thriving in its Roseland Home

“It’s a beautiful day to buy flowers, balloons and more.” That’s the greeting you’ll likely hear for the long run when Starnella Johnson, owner of Ambassador Floral, or one of her staff members answers your call. The future of the floral shop’s home, located at 11035 -47 S. Halsted St. in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, had become uncertain in 2018, as it had in times past. But all that changed when Elisha Sanders, acquisition specialist at the Cook County Land Bank Authority, approached Johnson with an offer she never imagined possible: a chance to become owner of the building that she [...]

By | 2020-09-22T10:34:32+00:00 September 21st, 2020|Stories of Impact|Comments Off on Cook County Land Bank Authority Keeps Flower Business Thriving in its Roseland Home
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