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Ill. financial help available for tornado victims

Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:20 p.m. CST
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Volunteers discard debris during the aftermath of the Nov. 17 tornado in Diamond Estates subdivision last November. Victims of the tornado are eligible to apply for financial assistance through the state.

DIAMOND – The Illinois Housing Development Authority is handing out about $2.5 million in tornado relief funds and several homeowners from Grundy County could be on the receiving end.

The IHDA is issuing the relief loans on a first-come, first-served basis to uninsured or under insured tornado victims throughout Illinois who need help paying insurance deductibles or finishing home repairs.

The loan program is targeted at those affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes of Nov. 17.

The loans are only available to homeowners — not business owners — who own their home, have insurance, are current on their property taxes and mortgage payments, and do not exceed a certain income bracket.

“I know I have people who could really benefit from this,” Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc said. “There are people out there who are struggling and fighting with their insurance companies.”

Kernc said even with insurance, some residents are $50,000 or more short on funds needed to fully repair their homes.

The Tri-County Opportunities Council based in Rock Falls is the official loan program administrator for residents in LaSalle and Grundy counties wanting to apply for the newly released state aid. Tri-County stated it has funds to help roughly six homeowners in Grundy and another six in LaSalle.

The funds are dubbed loans but work more like grants. The loans are five-year recapture loans which means they do not have to repaid if a resident stays in his or her home five years after receiving the money.

“You pay back the loan by living in the house,” Tri-County’s Weatherization and Program Director Wayne Thompson said.

If a resident is granted a loan but chooses to move within five years, they will have to pay back a prorated amount of the principal amount, Thompson said.

Thompson encouraged tornado victims to apply for the funds immediately since the process is time sensitive. The applications were first made available Tuesday morning.

“I really have no idea how many people will apply for this, but I know it will be competitive,” Thompson said.

The $2.5 million is a part of the larger $45 million tornado relief package announced by Gov. Pat Quinn in March.

Kernc stressed village officials will help any residents understand, complete and submit an application if they come to the Diamond Village Hall, 1750 E. Division St., Diamond, for assistance.

“We’ll help them put the application together so they can get it sent off as soon as possible,” Kernc said.

KNOW MORE

For more information:

Visit tcochelps.org or call 815-625-7830.

Where to apply:

In person at Diamond Village Hall, 1750 Main St, Diamond.

Online at tcochelps.org

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