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  • Who Can Apply?
    Anyone can apply for a Matthew Home, however, qualified applicants must satisfy certain program criteria. The Matthew Home program is designed for those who need an affordable home. This means that if you currently own a home, generally, you would not be considered under the rules to have a "need". Qualified applicants must also be able to afford a mortgage (are employed) and meet certain area median income (AMI) requirements. Applicants also must meet U.S. or legal residency requirements, be willing to engage in the community and be willing to partner in giving back through volunteer service. Our current affordable housing efforts are focused in the City of North Chicago. We are working on renovating existing homes as well as building new homes. If you have questions, please contact Matthew Homes at
  • What is the First Step?
    There are several steps to being qualified for the Matthew Home program. However, the first step is to review the Matthew Home – Working Together Pledge. After reading the Pledge, if you are interested in applying for a Matthew Home, please complete the Matthew Home application and submit your application to Matthew Homes. A Committee will review your application and connect you with a Matthew Home representative who will work with you to complete a financial assessment and go over the process.
  • What is the Matthew Home – Working Together Pledge?
    Home ownership is an important step. We want you to share in the blessing of making a home ready to live in, so that you develop skills and knowledge about how to take care of your home and have pride in your home ownership. This means that Matthew Home applicants are asked to volunteer at least 150 hours to help build or rehabilitate a home. Family members and even your friends may volunteer service hours to help you complete 150 hours of service. Also, up to 50 of your 150 hours may be satisfied by volunteering for an approved school or community event in North Chicago or attending approved home ownership, financial counseling, or budgeting classes. We often hear from Matthew Home families that they really enjoyed serving. It gave them opportunities to get to know other Matthew Home owners in the area as well as some of the volunteers and Matthew Home team. They also found that serving helped them become familiar with the home process, was very enjoyable and they were surprised at home much fun they had working together.
  • What are the program criteria?
    The Matthew Home Program is designed for those who have a current need for affordable housing, have an ability to pay a mortgage (employed), are U.S. citizens or legal residents, are willing to engage in the community, and are willing to partner in volunteering 150 service hours. Gross annual income must meet the area medium income (AMI) for household size and satisfy debt-to-income (DTI) limits.
  • Are there any other program criteria?
    Yes, applicants must be qualified by the Matthew Home Program, Your application will be reviewed by a Committee to determine need and financial capacity. All applicants are subject to the same income criteria. You do not need to live in North Chicago to apply to the Matthew Home Program. However, in the event there are more qualified applicants than homes available, qualified applicants who currently live or work in North Chicago are considered to have a “local preference” and are given priority over qualified applicants who do not live or work in North Chicago. Similarly, if you are working in a public service industry, such as a teacher, healthcare worker, EMS, law enforcement, firefighter, military or Veteran, you are considered to have a “public service preference” and, if qualified, have a priority over qualified applicants who are not in a public service industry. The process can take several months. Applications are reviewed by a committee to determine if program criteria are met and may involve you meeting with a trusted lending partner to determine your ability to obtain a mortgage and your financial capacity. If program criteria and financial capacity are satisfied, then the application is sent for review to a separate committee to determine if there are any Matthew Homes available that would meet the needs and size of the family.
  • How do I purchase the home?
    In addition to satisfying the income and program criteria, applicants must qualify for a conventional, 30-year fixed rate residential mortgage and be pre-approved by a Matthew Home participating lender. The market fluctuates quite a bit, but homes generally will range between $175,000 and $250,000 and typical mortgage payments may range from $1350-$1700 per month, depending on interest rates, taxes and size of home, etc. A Matthew Home Financial Counselor is available to help you navigate this process, will connect you to a trusted and qualified participating lender, and also help you explore financial assistance programs. There is no charge for this service.
  • What is the Borrower Contribution?
    Matthew Home Applicants must contribute a minimum of 1% of the net purchase price of the home or $1000, whichever is less, which will be applied as a down payment toward the purchase of the home at closing. In some cases, applicants may qualify for different forms of down payment assistance, grants or financial assistance from participating lenders, other organizations or from the Matthew Homeowner Financial Assistance Program.
  • What is the Matthew Homeowner Financial Assistance Program (“FAP”)?
    Some pre-qualified Matthew Homeowner applicants may be eligible to apply for financial or down payment assistance offered through Matthew Homes and participating lenders or other organizations. Qualification depends on need, income limits, borrower capacity and other underwriting criteria. Grant assistance varies but typically is in the form of a no-interest (zero interest) loan which is recorded as a lien or second mortgage on the home. There are no monthly payments on these types of secondary loans and the loan is typically forgiven evenly over the agreed upon term, as long as the homeowner remains in the home, makes timely payments on the first mortgage, etc. Matthew Home Financial Counselors are available to assist you in determining if you qualify for FAP assistance and the amount of grants that might be available or offered by participating lenders or other nonprofit organizations.
  • Do I need to be a first-time home buyer?
    No, however, all approved applicants must have a current need for an affordable home, therefore, you may not qualify if you already own a home. Also approved applicants are asked to attend a HUD certified home-ownership class (or equivalent) offered by an organization approved by the Matthew Home Program. The HUD home-ownership class is designed to familiarize yourself with home ownership. You receive volunteer service hour credit for attending home-ownership classes.
  • If I have poor credit, can I still qualify for a home?
    Poor credit will not disqualify you, but it must be repaired before you can apply for a mortgage and become pre-qualified. A Matthew Home Financial Counselor or one of our partner Financial Counselors will work with interested applicants to provide free credit repair counseling and budget planning.
  • How long does the entire process take?
    Generally speaking, it takes about 6 to 18 months for most applicants. The amount of time it takes largely depends on your financial readiness for home ownership and whether we have suitable inventory available. For some, it will take longer than others to repair credit and develop a sound financial profile, however, Financial Counselors will work with you every step of the way.
  • Where can I find more information?
    For more information, please email or U.S. mail inquiries may be sent to: ReNew Communities, NFP Attn: Matthew Homes 100 N. Waukegan Road Lake Forest, IL 60045
  • About ReNew
    Matthew Homes is a program of ReNew Communities, a 501(c)(3), faith-based, charitable nonprofit organization. If you are interested in supporting our work and mission, donations to ReNew are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Learn More
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