Watch CBS News

Builder Creates 'Neighbor-To-Neighbor' Relationships With Affordable Homes In North Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) –  One Chicago suburb is turning blight into beauty. The concept is to invite homeowners that might not otherwise be able to swing a down payment and a mortgage onto blocks where neighborly relations have turned chilly.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Chris Tye with how the best gifts of the holidays may just be moving in next door.

"This is the beginning of the next chapter."

Rod Walton's next chapter is being written from his new address with the help of strangers.

"He helped us design it."

Ten years ago, builder David Weil had an idea that's morphed into what he calls Matthew Homes -- affordable homeownership for those who might not otherwise be able to swing it.

"They are buying the home but with some assistance," Weil said.

Assistance by way of donated lumber and windows, volunteer carpentry, landscaping — and an out-of-the-box approach to financing for the gainfully employed of North Chicago.

"They're incredible assets of this community. But they get lost in the regulatory dimensions and complexities of the financial system," said Paul Hawkinson, Executive Director of Transform Capital.

Rod had been spending over a thousand dollars a month living in a wheelchair-friendly hotel room.

Those dollars shift to a mortgage — and if his new roots stick, new philanthropic dollars move his way.

If the homeowner stays in the home and is an active member of the community a portion of that purchase price goes away.

Rod won't be doing this alone either. When these volunteer builders build these out, they're building homes two at a time. Right next door. A buddy system of sorts. And before it's all over, they're going to build 300 homes in North Chicago alone.

"We're doing that with this block and as close as we can the next block and the next block until there is a sense of synergy and a catalyst," Weil said.

A catalyst that turns blighted homes into valuable ones and re-ignites neighbor-to-neighbor relationships.

"Together you then begin to make an impact in each other's lives, but also caring for your neighbors and adds a sense of strength in the community right off the bat," Weil said.

"It still hasn't set in. Probably when I pay my first mortgage it will set in," Walton said.

Rod is the 13th Matthew homeowner settling into new digs in North Chicago. Unwrapping his new chapter thanks to out-of-the-box philanthropy.

"This is a Christmas gift beyond Christmas gifts. Man, it's amazing," Walton said.

To learn more about how to apply for a Matthew home -- or to donate visit here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.