Our View: Illinois offers mortgagors a lifeline
SouthtownStar editorial October 11, 2012 10:46PM
Updated: November 13, 2012 6:33AM
If you’re behind on your mortgage, worried that you soon may be or are just burdened by being underwater on it, you’ll want to attend a meeting Saturday in South Holland hosted by the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network.
IFPN was formed in February as an umbrella agency to oversee and coordinate various mortgage assistance programs and make it easier for homeowners to get help. And there are plenty who need help.
As of August, Illinois led the nation in foreclosure rates, with one in nearly 300 homes affected, and nearly 13,500 properties statewide bank owned or in some stage of foreclosure. And South Cook County is among the worst areas in the nation for foreclosures.
During the first half of this year, there were 22,365 foreclosure filings in Cook County, up 3.4 percent from a year ago. In Will County, 2,629 properties went into foreclosure in that six-month period, which was an improvement (down by 10 percent) from 2011.
Saturday’s meeting is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Holland Community Center, 501 E. 170th St. It’s open to any Illinois mortgage holder and will provide trained counselors to guide troubled homeowners in finding the right relief program for them.
IFPN’s main program appears impressive — the Hardest Hit Program began a year ago and is financed by $445 million in federal funds. It provides a maximum of $25,000 to make current a delinquent mortgage and cover monthly payments for up to 18 months for those who’ve had at least a 20 percent drop in income because of losing their job or being underemployed.
Mary Kenney, executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which operates IFPN, said more than 500 Hardest Hit applications are being approved each month and IFPN hopes to boost interest in the program with meetings, such as Saturday’s, across the state.
It’s easy to be cynical and critical about state government in Illinois, but it has many programs that provide important services to those in need. There’s a foreclosure crisis in Illinois and in our region, and IFPN is confronting it head-on.