Friday, December 21, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Lovise Jiles, Jenia Hart, Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Rob Rose and Raheem Trull pose for a photo on Dec. 21, after Hart learned that she had won a home in Maywood through the Cook County Land Bank. | VFP
When Jenia Hart, 21, walked into the home at 1008 N. Maywood Drive in Maywood, on Dec. 21, she didn’t expect that the space she was entering would be her own.
Hart, who is pregnant with a daughter, expressed shock and gratitude when she learned that she was the recipient of the fully renovated home. Hart was selected from among roughly 4,000 people (according to one Maywood official’s estimate) who entered the Cook County Land Bank’s second annual Home Giveaway Lottery.
The lottery, Land Bank officials said, was introduced last year “as a way to raise awareness for the Land Bank’s Homebuyer Direct Program, which breaks down barriers to homeownership and helps transform communities by offering fixer-upper homes across Cook County at below-market prices.”
The land bank will help Hart manage the property tax and insurance payments while Hart is required to maintain the property in compliance with various building, housing and property maintenance codes, land bank officials said.
“I never thought that I could have this type of blessing,” she said in front of a bevy of cell phone cameras and a local TV news crew. “This is big, especially with me welcoming my first baby girl, here. I can’t say, ‘Thank you,’ enough. This is a great start for me.”
Hart, right, talks with a Cook County Land Bank Authority official after learning that she’d won a free Maywood home. | VFP
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and Rob Rose, the executive director of the Cook County Land Bank, presented Hart with gifts for her new home and her new baby.
“You are hosting the Christmas party dinner in a couple of days,” quipped Johnson. “So, I hope you can make a good macaroni and cheese”
In addition to Johnson, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough were on hand for the occasion.
Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins welcomed Hart with open arms before the proud, new homeowner was given a tour of her place by realtor Lovise Jiles, of MNK Realty Professionals, which facilitated the renovation.
A bedroom in Hart’s new home. | VFP
The home features a two-car garage, finished basement, modernized kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and plenty of yard space.
“The village of Maywood welcomes you and congratulates you,” Perkins said. “We wish you much success and happiness in our community.” VFP
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