We all know how overwhelming buying a home can be, particularly since it’s a large financial transaction. Luckily, there are many homebuying assistance programs and grants to help you save money and stress.

Nationwide, there are over 2,000 homeownership assistance programs available – we’ve compiled a few Chicago-specific programs you can take advantage of to save money on your dream home.


Grants are gifts that do not have to be repaid and can be used towards either down payments
or closing costs. Grants are usually regulated by state and local governments.

First-time homeowners, veterans or those who haven’t owned a home in the past three years and are looking to purchase a home in Cook, Marion, St. Clair or Winnebago county can apply for this grant, providing a 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage with $7,500 towards down payment or closing costs. Learn more.

These programs provide $6,000 for down payment or closing cost assistance, given in either a grant to be paid back at the end of the mortgage, to be paid back monthly over a five-year period or provided by nonprofit organizations to the homebuyer. Learn more.

This grant offers 4% (up to $6,000) of the purchase price in assistance for a down payment and closing costs for a home being purchased in any county in Illinois which is forgiven over 10 years. Learn more.

This grant offers 5% (up to $7,500) of the purchase price in assistance for a down payment or closing costs that is interest-free for the life of the mortgage. However, the loan must be repaid when the house is sold, refinanced or paid off. Learn more.

This grant offers 10% (up to $10,000) of the purchase price in assistance for a down payment or closing costs. The grant is interest-free and repaid monthly over 10 years with a 30- year, fixed-rate mortgage. Learn more.

Most mortgage lending companies have specific homeowner grants and loans that you may qualify for – so make sure to check with them to see what’s available!


This credit is available to first time homebuyers or those purchasing a home in an economically troubled census tract. The Mortgage Credit Certificate allows homebuyers to claim a tax credit for a portion of the mortgage interest paid per year. Currently, annual savings are 25% for a purchased home or 50% for a home improvement or rehab loan, and savings are capped at $2,000. Learn more.


Programs/Initiatives: Many governments will provide programs or initiatives. These could provide incentives to invest or purchase properties, help invest in certain communities, rehab abandoned properties and more.

This program encourages homebuyers to purchase properties in Englewood Square, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, Humboldt Park/Garfield Park and Woodlawn. Homebuyers can receive up to $60,000 in assistance to purchase homes built through the City Lots for Working Families programs. Learn more.

This program provides vacant, city-owned lots to developers of affordable single-family homes and two flats for $1 each. Homes must be made available to qualified buyers with incomes of up to 140% of the area median income who must agree to occupy the homes for five years. Learn more.

This program is specifically available to Chicago police officers, firefighter and paramedics. The Community Connections Home Buyer Assistance Program offers loans of up to $30,000 for city workers to purchase a home in a targeted Chicago neighborhood to encourage revitalization efforts. Learn more.

The Cook County Lank Bank Authority was created to address the large amount of vacant residential, industrial and commercial properties in Cook County. The Land Bank acquires properties, liens, notes and deeds through purchase, donation, forfeiture and other transfers, which is then transferred to individuals or groups to rehab and prepare for use in a timely manner. Homes, developments and commercial properties are then listed online for purchase. Learn more.

INVEST South/West is an initiative that aligns millions of dollars in public funding over the next three years to maximize public investments to attract capital to areas of need, including Auburn Gresham, Austin, Bronzeville, Greater Englewood, New City, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, Greater Roseland, South Chicago and South Shore. Through their website, development teams can submit their proposals for opportunity sites in these areas. Learn more.

This program provides first and second mortgage loans for the purchase (or purchase and rehab) of one-to-four-unit buildings for homeowners who might not otherwise be able to purchase a home.

Qualifying applicants who want to purchase or purchase and rehab a home can receive deferred forgivable loans on down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, affordability assistance or lead-based paint abatement.

Learn more.

The Northwest Home Equity Assurance Program is a neighborhood funded, tax-based initiative to guarantee the value of a property if it falls below the current fair market value. They also provide low-interest loans for home improvement projects in the area. This program is applicable to certain areas in the neighborhoods of Jefferson Park, Old Irving Park, Dunning, Montclare, Galewood, Portage Park, Belmont Central, Belmont Heights and Belmont Cragin. Learn more.

The Southwest Home Equity Program was developed to ensure property values for an extended span of time. It is financed through a levy on single through six-unit residential properties within the Home Equity District. The initiative guarantees the value of a property as well as assisting with interest-free home improvement loans. This program is applicable to those living in the Southwest neighborhoods of Chicago Lawn/Marquette Manor, Gage Park, West Lawn, Clearing, Brighton Park, Archer Heights, Garfield Ridge, West Elsdon and parts of Ashburn, McKinley Park, New City and Scottsdale. Learn more.