By The Associated Press

Illinois beefs up home program for military

WESTCHESTER – State officials have beefed up a program that helps members of the military in Illinois buy their first home.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced an additional $5 million for the program on Monday, when Veterans Day is observed.

The money comes from a capital fund and is estimated to help 500 families buy homes.

Those who qualify for the "Welcome Home Heroes" program get a $10,000 forgiveable loan, low interest rate on a 30-year mortgage and help with closing costs.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sereda and his wife, Shanon, were able to purchase a three-bedroom home in the Chicago suburb of Westchester. The newlyweds say the program let them have extra money for their wedding and to start their new life together.

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