Community First April 2024 Newsletter

  • April 9, 2024

Opening Doors to Homeownership Through Housing Counseling and Downpayment Assistance 

FHLBank Chicago's Community First® Housing Counseling Resource Program (HCRP) provides grants to HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin to facilitate expanded service to underserved homebuyers. The grants are administered by two FHLBank Chicago housing associates Illinois Housing Development Authority and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Since the program launched in 2022, we have witnessed numerous success stories, including that of Angela and Luis, an immigrant couple from Colombia who arrived in the United States in 2020. Facing increasing rental costs, Angela and Luis sought guidance from the Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS), an HCRP beneficiary organization. Additionally, the couple received a Downpayment Plus® (DPP®)  program grant through our dedicated member, Midland States Bank, who has cultivated a strong partnership with CCCS, providing a seamless support network for homebuyers in their community.

Angela and Luis secured their dream home in September 2023. Their journey underscores the transformative impact of accessible housing counseling and downpayment assistance in achieving homeownership. Watch their story below.



Affordable Housing Program General Fund Competitive Round Opens May 6

FHLBank Chicago has allocated nearly $49M to its 2024 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) General Fund. Applications will be accepted beginning Monday, May 6, 2024 through 5 p.m. CT on Friday, June 14, 2024. 

FHLBank Chicago has published recorded webinars on the 2024 AHP General Fund. These webinars are organized by topic, including: 1) Overview and Eligibility; 2) Feasibility; 3) Scoring; 4) Post-Award Compliance; 5) Key Changes for 2024; and 6) Guide Against Common Mistakes.

The Guide for Sponsor Applicants for Rental and Owner-Occupied Projects, the Guide for Member Applicants, and the application exhibits have been updated for 2024 and posted to our AHP Program Policy and Forms webpage. Potential applicants are encouraged to review these resources.

Please contact Community Investment at or 312.565.5824 with requests for technical assistance.


AHP Guide for Project Management Updated

The AHP Guide for Project Management has been updated. There is also a separate Guide for Project Management for Rental Projects and Owner-Occupied Projects for an easier user experience. Members and sponsors with AHP General Fund projects should review the guide for direction on semi-annual progress reporting, extensions, disbursements, and making updates in AHP Online.


Increased Funding Available for DPP

To further support housing affordability in your communities, we are increasing the maximum per member limit available for the DPP program to $1 million per member—a nearly 43% increase over the 2023 limit of $700,000.  

This member limit increase is the latest in a series of program enhancements to provide more resources to home buyers through our member financial institutions in Illinois and Wisconsin. After increasing the DPP grant amount last year to $10,000, continuing to offer the program year-round, and growing our participating members in the program, FHLBank Chicago is now increasing the member maximum to allow our members to provide more grants to their communities. 

If you have any questions, please contact or 312.565.5824.


Upcoming Events

April 9 | FHLBank Chicago – 2024 AHP Overview Webinar for Experienced Users 

April 17-18 | Baker Tilly – 2024 DevelUP™

June 1 | Illinois Housing Council – 2024 Summer Mixer

June 10-12 | OWEESTA – 9th Annual Native CDFI Capital Access Convening

June 12-15 | African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs – 2024 Annual Meeting & Conference



Contact Us

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Casey Reidy 
Director, Communications

Heather Bockstruck
Assistant Director, Communications