By Craig Dellimore

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cook County Land Bank Authority celebrated Monday the 200th home that’s been rehabilitated under the innovative program.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer helped create the Land Bank after the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

She said most people did not have the expertise or ability to buy the homes vacated during the debacle.

“We built this thing called a land bank. We went into communities where homes were sitting vacant, we bought them up, cleared the titles…and then put them out on a really simple website where people could buy,” Gainer said.

And it is still going.

“So instead of having to go to court for nine months or a year, someone could just go on our website, they pick the house that they want and within 30-60 days they close on it,” Gainer said.

People get affordable homes, she said, and neighborhoods no longer have those abandoned homes as a blight on their communities.

The program began with money Attorney General Lisa Madigan obtained from lawsuits against the big mortgage servicing banks. But now, the program is self-sufficient and providing affordable homes.

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