CHICAGO – When James Thomas Henry lost his job a year after buying a new townhouse, the suburban Bloomingdale resident feared he might also lose his home because he wouldn’t be able to make his mortgage payments.
But thanks to the Illinois Hardest Hit program, Henry remains in his home today after receiving help paying his mortgage through the program.
“I have that stability so I don’t have to worry about where I'm going to live, and I can focus instead on securing new employment,” Henry said. “This program brings peace of mind.”
Thousands of Illinois homeowners like Henry are getting help from the program as the state’s largest mortgage assistance program marked the major milestone of helping its 5,000th homeowner receive the financial help they need to keep their home.
Since Illinois Hardest Hit was launched in September 2011, 5,000 homeowners have been given more than $57 million in mortgage payment assistance with almost $114 million in funds approved.
Illinois Hardest Hit is the flagship program under Governor Quinn’s Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) and is ranked as one of the top states in the nation among states that operate a Hardest Hit Fund program.
“When we created the network we knew there was a great need across Illinois to have a trusted resource where struggling homeowners could turn for help,” Governor Quinn said. “I am pleased to see the success of Illinois Hardest Hit because it is vital that we connect struggling homeowners across our state with resources. We know that keeping people in their homes is the most important thing we can do to strengthen families, communities and our economy.”
Illinois Hardest Hit is overseen by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and was launched in September 2011. The program provides qualified homeowners who are unemployed or underemployed with up to $25,000 in mortgage payment assistance and enables homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgages to catch up on their payments, and provides monthly payments as they continue their job search.
“The Illinois Hardest Hit program offers more than hope for so many homeowners, and we have more resources available to help even more families,” said Mary R. Kenney, IHDA Executive Director. “Governor Quinn’s Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network has made it easier for residents to connect with free help easily and quickly, and time is crucial for homeowners in this economy.”
Homeowners like Henry are an example of how Illinois Hardest Hit works. He heard about the Illinois Hardest Hit program on the radio, followed the online application process and once approved, began receiving financial assistance. The program brought him current on his mortgage payments, and provides monthly assistance so he can stay current.
Illinois is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia that received funding under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). The latest Treasury Report ranked Illinois 4th nationally in the number of homeowners approved for Hardest Hit Fund assistance.
“Through the Hardest Hit Fund, Illinois and other states are exploring innovative solutions to some of the most difficult challenges in an unprecedented housing crisis,” said Mark McArdle, Treasury Deputy Chief of Homeownership Preservation and Director of the Hardest Hit Fund.
An interagency effort that leverages strong partnerships, IFPN has enabled thousands of residents in every part of Illinois to access services they need to help them keep their homes. IFPN pools together free assistance available through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
As a result of IFPN:
• More than 350,000 homeowners have accessed either the IFPN website or the Illinois Hardest Hit program website.
• More than 40,000 people have called IFPN help hotlines.
• More than 37,000 homeowners have received homeownership counseling.
• Almost 3,000 people have attended a series of IFPN workshops across the state.
Illinois residents who are having trouble paying their mortgage, facing foreclosure or know someone who is should reach out to IFPN as soon as possible by calling the IFPN hotline at 855-KEEP-411 or by visiting www.keepyourhomeillinois.org. A list of upcoming IFPN events is also available.