Effort Kicked Up to Stop Illinois Foreclosures

July 20, 2012

Millions of dollars have been allotted to help Illinois and Chicago real estate owners plagued by the foreclosure crisis.

The money is part of the $25 billion national foreclosure settlement reached this year with the nation’s five largest bank mortgage servicers — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, formerly GMAC — over the “robo-signing” controversy, in which foreclosure documents of struggling homeowners were fraudulently approved.

Up to $3 million will be spent creating new mortgage foreclosure mediation programs in Illinois counties that don’t already have them.

“Effective mediation programs are proven to give homeowners a fighting chance to save their homes,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “Borrowers who’ve gone through foreclosure mediation have significantly better chances at receiving a loan modification and reaching a positive outcome.”

The money is available to qualifying tax-exempt organizations that can offer housing counseling and pro bono legal representation to struggling Illinois homeowners.

Interested parties should write a brief summary of proposed services, including a budget and background information proving how they can provide the services.

Applications are due electronically by August 15, 2012, to Deborah Hagan, dhagan@atg.state.il.us, and Tracy Celletti, tcelletti@atg.state.il.us. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.

Another $20 million will be used toward grants for legal assistance programs that hopefully will help counteract the historic levels of foreclosure in Illinois through outreach programs, housing policy development and community revitalization.

In addition to the funds directed to Madigan’s office, Illinois homeowners also will receive an estimated $1 billion in relief from the national settlement. The funds will help those who have lost their homes, are underwater or at risk of defaulting on their mortgages.

To learn more about the national settlement:

*Call Madigan’s Homeowner’s Helpline at 866-544-7151

*Visit illinoisattorneygeneral.gov

*Visit nationalforeclosuresettlement.com

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