Dick Durbin Visits Emmanuel House

On Monday, April 30, 2012, Senator Dick Durbin visited our family’s organization, Emmanuel House, on his way to announcing Community Development Block Grants for Aurora, IL.  The story was front page news the next day.  Watch video of visit HERE. Less than four years later Emmanuel House was named one of the “Top 100 Most Innovative” social change organizations in the world.


By Stephanie Lulay, Front Page Beacon-News/Sun Times, May 1, 2012.

Dick Durbin visits Emmanuel HouseAURORA — The co-founder of Aurora’s Emmanuel House emphasized to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Monday the important role federal funding plays in his agency’s effort to help people buy their own homes. The half-dozen non-profit partners to the Emmanuel House program rely on federal dollars to keep the program afloat, said Rick Guzman, co-founder of Emmanuel House and now assistant chief of staff for Mayor Tom Weisner. “You could pull out any one of our partners and it might not work,” Guzman said of the multi-agency collaboration.

Durbin was in Aurora Monday to announce the city will receive about $1.6 million in federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding. He made the announcement at an Emmanuel House project site at 314 Claim St. The funding will help support partnerships among non-profit organizations, he said. The Claim Street home, now being rehabbed, will be turned into two of Emmanuel House’s nine units, which people rent at market rates while saving toward making a downpayment on a home.

“Many of the organizations that have joined forces to make the innovative program at Emmanuel House a success are recipients of the federal funding I’m announcing today,” Durbin said. “They use it to provide services that ensure the families are ready when the time comes to own their own home.”

The CDBG federal funding for 2012 is $1.18 million, a 6 percent increase from the $1.1 million the city received in 2011. The city also will receive $455,018 in HOME investment partnerships funding in 2012, but that is down from the $522,462 received in 2011, according to Karen Christensen, manager of the city’s Neighborhood Redevelopment division.

Dick Durbin and Rick GuzmanEmmanuel House, an Aurora non-profit founded in 2002 by Rick and Desiree Guzman, helps working class families purchase their first home. Durbin met Monday with some Aurora families who have been helped by the program.

Cuban immigrants Yanary Labrador and Reynaldo Garrido were the first to complete the program in 2008. “When I got in this country, I never thought I could be a homeowner,” Labrador said.

Durbin said the rehab of foreclosed homes into Emmanuel House apartments makes the best of a bad situation. “It is important to come home from Washington and see how dollars are being spent. This is money being well spent,” he said.

Working with other non-profits, Emmanuel House selects qualified families to live in an apartment where families pay market rate rent while saving for a home. Partnering organizations provide down payment assistance, credit counseling, homeowner education and tax credits for first-time homebuyers.

Leaders from Emmanuel House, the Dunham Fund, Joseph Corporation, Quad County Urban League, Family Focus Aurora and Community Christian Church all met with Durbin, as did Weisner, Alderman Juany Garza, State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and State Sen. Linda Holmes.

♦♦♦  Go to the Emmanuel House main page.

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