ROSEMONT – To further Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to protect Illinois families and communities from foreclosure, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) today helped kick off the free Help for Homeowners Community Event at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
IHDA Executive Director Mary R. Kenney participated in the Help for Homeowners Community Event, the result of a nationwide outreach initiative by the Obama administration, the HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks® America. Struggling homeowners attending the event at the convention center were connected - for free - with their mortgage servicer and a HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss their options.
Sixteen of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers and more than a dozen local HUD-approved housing counseling organizations participated in today’s event to assist struggling homeowners in the Chicago area.
“Illinois is dedicated to making sure homeowners have access to free counseling assistance, because this resource is crucial to keeping people in their homes,” said Kenney. “A national report found foreclosure counseling nearly doubles chances of mortgage modification and reduces likelihood of re-default by at least 67 percent.”
Today’s event is just the latest initiative the Quinn administration has participated in to help Illinois homeowners. Last Saturday in Chicago, the Quinn administration hosted the latest in a series of outreach events as part of the Mortgage Relief Project, a component of the statewide Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network. Since IFPN’s launch on February 1, approximately 21,600 homeowners have been connected to the myriad resources available through the Network.
Governor Quinn in February created IFPN to bundle together key foreclosure assistance resources in a centralized location to help homeowners find the help they need more quickly. The collaboration between IHDA, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) provides access to counseling services, legal advice, mortgage payment assistance programs, foreclosure prevention events and tips on how to avoid mortgage fraud. Network resources are available at www.KeepYourHomeIllinois.org, and via a free hotline 1-855-KEEP-411 (1-855-533-7411) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
A key program available under the IFPN is the Illinois Hardest Hit program, a program funded by the Treasury Department, offering up to $25,000 in temporary financial assistance to help homeowners who have experienced a job loss or pay cut continue to make their mortgage payments. To date, more than 2,000 Illinois homeowners are approved to receive assistance that will help them stay in their homes.
Governor Quinn also in February launched the Illinois Building Blocks Pilot Program, a holistic approach to the foreclosure crisis hurting families and communities. Building Blocks is a joint program of the state and Cook County that both rehabilitates vacant properties and increases affordable housing in the communities of Berwyn, Chicago Heights, Maywood, Park Forest, Riverdale and South Holland.
Studies have shown a foreclosed property can decrease property values located in the same block by as much as $10,000. The $55 million pilot phase of the program targets the six communities to stabilize neighborhoods, protect property values, preserve the existing local tax base and increase affordable housing.
Buyers of vacant properties in those six communities can now apply for up to $10,000 in down payment assistance. Later this month, IHDA expects to begin the application process for qualified developers who would rehabilitate properties in the Building Blocks communities to return them to the housing market. The rehabilitation component includes $40 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and $10 million from Cook County to facilitate the acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant properties within the targeted areas. As the rehabbed homes are sold, funds will be replenished into the revolving fund to purchase and rehabilitate additional properties. For more information, see www.ihda.org.