Torrey Warship had never owned a home â€” until the mortgage foreclosure crisis.
Through a federal program to renovate foreclosed homes, the 34-year-old public works laborer bought his first house in Waukegan for $138,000. He moved his family out of an apartment and into a two-story, two-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home in a "nice and peaceful neighborhood."
"I'm loving it," he said. "If it wasn't for that (program), I wouldn't have been able to get it."
Warship is one of a small number of new homeowners benefiting from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which has sent $4.6 million to Lake County to buy, renovate and sell foreclosed, abandoned homes.
The program doles out federal money to local governments, which help nonprofit organizations or municipalities buy the abandoned, foreclosed homes in targeted areas. The agencies â€” and in some cases cities such as Waukegan â€” rehab and sell the homes. Prospective buyers must make less than 120 percent of median income in the Chicago area â€” about $63,000 for one person and $90,000 for a four-person household.