Throughout January and February, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is curating a blog series on vacant properties in metropolitan Chicago. In the coming weeks, MPC's blog, The Connector — as well as the web sites of some of our partners — will feature posts from elected and appointed officials, policy advocates, finance experts, and others about the many ways we are all working together to get a handle on this growing regional and national housing and community development challenge. The opinions expressed in these posts do not necessarily reflect MPC's opinion. Follow the blog series at www.metroplanning.org/vacantproperties.
The following post is a press release issued Feb. 1, 2012, by the State of Illinois, about a new statewide program that will connect families facing foreclosure with resources to help them keep their homes. Gov. Quinn announced this new program that same day at his State of the State address. The governor said the program's intent is "to connect struggling homeowners with every resource available, from counseling to legal assistance to mortgage relief." MPC intends to tap this network to help clusters of communities implementing housing and economic redevelopment strategies prevent further foreclosures. Quinn also said that in the coming weeks, he and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will announce a major housing initiative that will help return vacant properties to good use—another welcome solution to the multifaceted vacant properties challenge.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2012
New Statewide Program Connects Families Facing Foreclosure with Resources to Help Keep Their Homes
Chicago ... As part of his commitment to affordable housing and foreclosure prevention, Governor Pat Quinn today announced the launch of the statewide Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) in his State of the State address. A multi-agency effort coordinated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the IFPN connects struggling homeowners with all available assistance, resources and knowledge to help them keep their homes.
“Helping families stay in their homes is essential in keeping our communities strong and our economic recovery moving forward,” Governor Quinn said. “The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network will connect families with the resources they need to keep their homes, and get back on their feet.”
The IFPN gathers all assistance and resources available to homeowners to ensure that families facing foreclosure can access the assistance they need in one stop. The IFPN provides access to counseling services, legal advice, mortgage payment assistance programs, foreclosure preven¬tion events and tips on how to avoid mortgage fraud.
The IFPN’s resources are available 24-hours a day online at KeepYourHomeIllinois.org, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the IFPN’s free hotline 1-855-446-6300.
Foreclosures adversely impact too many Illinois families and communities. Illinois is consistently ranked among the top 10 states with the highest number of foreclosures. In 2011, 103,003 homes in Illinois received a foreclosure filing, or one in every 51 homes – ranking the state eighth in the country, according to RealtyTrac.
The Chicago area has been especially affected, with the city of Chicago ranking second in the nation in number of foreclosures. The Chicago area has the nation’s largest inventory of foreclosed homes. According to RealtyTrac’s inventory records, as of December 2011, there were 96,996 properties that were bank-owned or in some stage of foreclosure in the Chicago metro area.
Foreclosure not only impacts a family that loses their home, but has a ripple effect that destabilizes communities and negatively affects the economy at large. Abandoned properties hurt communities by creating blight, attracting crime and reducing the local tax rolls. On average, homes located the same block as a foreclosed property can drop $8,000 to $10,000 in value, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Banks with too many foreclosures on their books limit lending, stifling business growth and consumer spending, which slows economic growth.
The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network bundles together key foreclosure assistance resources in a centralized location to make it easier for people to find the help they need more quickly, including:
- Qualified, HUD-certified housing counselors, free of charge, throughout the state
- Legal clinics that offer foreclosure prevention legal services free of charge
- Financial assistance from the Illinois Hardest Hit program, which provides up to $25,000 in mortgage assistance to qualified homeowners having trouble making mortgage payments due to unemployment or under-employment
- Targeted foreclosure mitigation events, including the Mortgage Relief Project, with one-on-one counseling, and access to loan servicers who can discuss loan modifications and work out agreements on the spot
- Additional information on refinancing options, loan modification options, federal and state resources, including Home Affordable Refinance Program, Home Affordable Modification Program and other programs
- Advice on how to avoid mortgage fraud, job search opportunities, financial planning and other counseling services
- Additional information on refinancing options, loan modification options, federal and state resources
“Services like counseling are critical to help people keep their homes,” said Mary Kenney, Executive Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority. “A national report recently found foreclosure counseling nearly doubles chances of mortgage modification and reduces likelihood of re-default by at least 67 percent.”
Under Governor Quinn, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) partnered to establish this free, one-stop resource of state agencies and nonprofit organizations to help Illinois residents access resources so that they can remain in their homes.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (www.ihda.org) is an independent, self-supporting bonding authority that finances the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout Illinois. Since 1967, IHDA has allocated more than $10.6 billion to finance more than 215,000 affordable housing units for the residents of Illinois. IHDA sells bonds independently, based on its own good credit, to finance affordable housing in Illinois.