PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Two days before the holiday, Marquis Brown of Peoria answered a call that changed his life.

He applied to a program with East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services that helps residents become homeonwers.

Wednesday, he received good news and a pair of new keys.

Brown become a homeowner for the first time.

“From this moment forward, I’m going to pay it forward because I know how I felt when I got that phone call,” Brown said.

The program’s key goal is to move people away from renting property and match with them with houses they can afford to purchase.

“It makes me feel as good as it does them,” program coordinator Jesse McGown Jr. said

On the journey to purchasing a house, Brown said he was rejected often. Now, he is encouraging anyone in his situation not to give up the pursuit.

“Just even saying that this is my home, I’m a home owner, it’s an indescribable feeling,” he said.

Obstacles are nothing but opportunities now you can see I can’t get past that. You can go over it under around through it there’s always a way to get around an obstacle but you have to want it.

Jesse McGown Jr. / East Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services

Brown said it is more than a place to lay his head at night, but a legacy that will be passed down through generations.

McGown Jr. said in order to be eligible for the program you must have a good rental history. Classes regarding homeownership are a requirement if accepted into the program.

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