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Resident is City’s 300th Successful “Choose to Own” Homeowner
(Chicago)– DLA Piper successfully represented Chicago resident Teresita Diaz in the purchase of her first home through the Chicago Housing Authority’s “Choose To Own” home ownership Program (CTO). Today’s property closing marks the 300th home purchase completed under the program and was recognized by Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Housing Authority officials during a March 15 news conference held in the home.
Since 2006, several attorneys in DLA Piper’s Chicago office have provided pro bono legal services to low-income Chicago residents through the CTO initiative. This innovative program helps qualified families purchase single family homes, condominiums or townhouses in Chicago through financial assistance, home buyer education, credit counseling and other services.
“I am proud to be involved in this valuable initiative to help low-income individuals and families in our community realize the American dream of home ownership,” said Merle Teitelbaum Cowin, a partner in DLA Piper’s Real Estate practice in the Chicago office who served as pro bono counsel to the buyer. “First-time homebuyers participating in the CTO program face a host of obstacles in navigating the closing process and it is our privilege to help provide clarity and guidance. I thank DLA Piper for its continued commitment to pro bono work, without which I wouldn’t have been able to devote as much effort to supporting this important community program.”
DLA Piper works closely with the Community Economic Development Law Project of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, which regularly refers new CTO cases to the firm’s Chicago attorneys. The firm has thus far handled 17 CTO closings in which pro bono attorneys have assisted qualified applicants in the successful purchase of their first home.
Cowin helped Teresita Diaz to obtain grant funds provided by the HOME Investment Partnerships Program through the City’s American Dream Downpayment Initiative, with assistance from the Latin United Community Housing Association. Since deals under the CTO program require several parties, Cowin played a key role in coordinating with the lenders, seller, agencies and city representatives to ensure a smooth road to home ownership for Teresita.
“Keeping all of our neighborhoods affordable is an ongoing challenge and a top priority for the City of Chicago. Above all, I want to thank Teresita Diaz and the others in this program who have shown their faith in our City by working hard to make their dream of homeownership come true,” Mayor Richard M. Daley said during the March 15 news conference.
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