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Live-Work Rock Island Celebrates 400th Home Buyer

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Brian Hollenback and James Jones from Ec. Growth Corp., Meghan Grimmett, Mayor Mike Thoms - the check represents the help received by Grimmett to buy her home - the down payment and some of the closing costs.

Eighteen years after it started, a program in Rock Island has helped 400 people buy their first homes. Tuesday the Economic Growth Corporation hosted a celebration for Live-Work Rock Island.

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President and CEO Brian Hollenback founded it in 2003, and people qualify by working for local employers that belong to the Development Association of Rock Island. It provides a down payment and some of the closing costs.

"And so literally I do not know of a better tool anywhere in the country that capitalizes so much on private sector investment as well as public sector investment, that brings new resources into a community to fund this program."

He thinks helping first time home buyers also increases the local tax base and stabilizes neighborhoods in the city.

Home buyer number 400 is Meghan Grimmett, who works for the Rock Island Police Department. She says buying a home would not have been possible without the Live-Work program.

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Economic Growth Corporation President and CEO Brian Hollenback

"I've tried other opportunities to get housing and it seemed like it was more beneficial for someone who has a family. So this is a great opportunity for someone who is single and does not have children or a spouse."

Hollenback says many of the home buyers are teachers or work for the city of Rock Island, the Arsenal, and local hospitals.

In addition to private funding, money for the program comes from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.