Chicago Foreclosure Homes Curbed by Public-Private Alliance

by Simon Lindsay on cities

Chicago foreclosure homes are being curbed by a partnership among a nonprofit, a group of title attorneys and the city of Chicago.

The nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago Inc., the firm Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund Inc. and the city of Chicago have partnered to hold six free foreclosure prevention events called Fix Your Mortgage this year to help homeowners negotiate lower monthly payments with their mortgage banks.

The first of the six events will be held this March at Morgan Park High School, the next event will be held in April at Lane Tech High School and the June event will be held at Curie High School.

Pre-registration will help the organizers, but it is not a requirement. Distressed homeowners can call NHS through its English or Spanish hotlines.

According to Ellen Sahli of the Department of Community Development, troubled homeowners should not be embarrassed about asking for help as a large percentage of homeowners throughout the country are struggling from the economic downturn and from the effects of exotic mortgages.

In 2009, the number of Chicago foreclosure homes rose by over 10 percent compared to 2008. A total of 22,658 new foreclosures were filed last year, equivalent to one filing for every 25 mortgaged homes in the city, based on records from the Woodstock Institute.

Among the most clobbered communities in the city were Lincoln Park, East Side and Uptown, places where investors and owner-occupant buyers can easily find foreclosures for sale. Foreclosure postings in these areas soared by staggering rates – 103.2 percent in Lincoln, 78.4 percent in Uptown and 74.4 percent in East Side.

Foreclosures on condo units also soared in 2009, with higher increase rates than the filing rates for single-family houses. Filings on condos surged by 36.8 percent year-over-year, far above the 8.6-percent increase rate for single-family houses.

Illinois foreclosures also surged in 2009, posting a 32-percent jump in filings year-over-year to 131,132, which was equivalent to one filing for every 40 households in Illinois.

According to Fix Your Mortgage organizers, the two previous foreclosure prevention events held in Chicago had a success rate of 34 percent, much higher than the nationwide average. Qualified homeowners with complete documents can expect to be helped quickly with the immediate preparation and submission of their loan modification application through the Internet.

With various entities launching programs to help distressed homeowners, it is hoped that the number of Chicago foreclosure homes would decline in the coming months.

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