O’FALLON, IL – As part of his commitment to affordable housing and foreclosure prevention, Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged Illinois families facing foreclosure to attend the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network’s “Keep Your Home, Illinois” workshop. Held Saturday, July 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in O’Fallon, the workshop will connect struggling homeowners with in-person assistance, resources and knowledge to help them keep their homes.
“Helping families stay in their homes is essential to strengthen our communities and our economic recovery,” Governor Quinn said. “The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network connects families facing foreclosure with the most current information and free housing counseling to help them navigate their options.”
Now in its sixth month, the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) is a multi-agency effort coordinated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). The statewide program gathers all resources available to homeowners to ensure that families facing foreclosure can access the assistance they need in one location. The IFPN provides access to FREE housing counseling services, legal advice, mortgage payment assistance, foreclosure prevention events and tips on how to avoid mortgage fraud.
The O’Fallon event is the second of six regional, IFPN “Keep Your Home, Illinois” foreclosure prevention workshops around the state. The IFPN’s resources are also 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-KEEP-411 (1-855-533-7411).
Foreclosures adversely impact too many Illinois families and communities. During the first six months of 2012, 85,384 foreclosure notices went out across the state, according to RealtyTrac. In June 2012 alone, Illinois recorded 14,938 foreclosure filings, up 36 percent compared with the same month last year (filings include default notices, auction-sale notices and bank repossessions). That means one in every 355 homes in Illinois received a foreclosure filing, the fifth highest in the country. Locally in Madison County, 241 foreclosures were filed in June 2012 representing one in every 489 homes, compared to 210 foreclosures in May 2012.
“You just don’t know until it hits you what a disaster your life can become when you can’t pay your bills,” Belleville homeowner Rebecca Swanigan, who was approved for financial assistance through the Illinois Hardest Hit program, said. “I looked for help for many months but I wasn’t looking in the right place. When I got the help I needed through the Hardest Hit program, I told my friends and neighbors. There are so many people in the area
who are just like me—struggling. The Illinois Hardest Hit program has given me hope.”
Working with a housing counselor doubles a homeowner’s chances of getting a loan modification and, once their loan is modified, foreclosure counseling reduces their chances of re-default by 67 percent.
“There are many benefits to working with an IFPN housing counselor,” said Mary Kenney, executive director of the IHDA. “Our counselors have access to numerous state and federal programs, and can direct homeowners toward the best program to suit their individual situations. The entire purpose of the network is to collect resources in one place, helping struggling homeowners save valuable time and resources as they work to keep their homes.”
“We are proud to be one of the 68 counseling agencies providing services under the network,” Ofelia Navarro, executive director of the Spanish Coalition for Housing, said. “Governor Quinn understands that homeowners have difficulty understanding and keeping up with which foreclosure prevention programs are available to them. Now more than ever, as the number of programs increase, homeowners need guidance to choose the best option for them.”
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 collaboration of state agencies and nonprofit organizations to help Illinois residents access resources so that they can remain in their homes.