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Buy Springfield Now, PeoplesBank awards potential homeowner $1,000 gift card

Date: 8/13/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — Carol Athas' search for a house to buy in the city has paid off for her. She doesn't have a home as yet, but she is $1,000 richer.

Athas was the recipient of a $1,000 gift card courtesy of PeoplesBank. She was entered into the drawing by taking part in the Buy Springfield Now Great Open House event on May 6 during which potential buyers could tour more than 40 available homes.

She received the gift card at a press conference at City Hall on Aug. 7.

Athas, who is currently renting, said she was impressed by how many homes were available in her price range and praised the Buy Springfield Now program.

The program, now in its fourth year, is a collaboration between area banks, credit union and mortgage companies as well as non-profit groups such as HAP Housing and Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services. According to the program's website, potential buyers who wish to participate and who can not afford a 20 percent down payment must complete a home buyers education program.

Buyers who have secured a mortgage through a participating lender are eligible for a package of discounts from Springfield merchants as well.

Athas said she would recommend people thinking of buying to attend the education program.

Mayor Domenic Sarno explained the program is open to everyone and that 275 homes have been purchased through the program so far.

The program is "the heart and soul of neighborhood development," Sarno said. "[It] strengthens the house, that street, that corner, that neighborhood."

For more information about the program, go to