Monday, September 23, 2013

More Homeowner Support On the Way in Illinois

The Illinois hardest hit program will soon be drawing to a close.  Indeed, the deadline to apply for this federally funded program is September 30th, a date that Illinois set back in July based on the numbers of people likely to require financial assistance.  Now, the state is realizing that more homeowners may require government help after the program ends, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.
What was the hardest hit program and how will its absence affect Illinois homeowners?  If you have questions or concerns about the hardest hit program coming to an end, the experienced foreclosure defense attorneys at the Emerson Law Firm can discuss your case with you today.
A Quick Reminder: The Hardest Hit Program
You might remember that the hardest hit program began in September 2011 when the Obama administration worked to provide relief to homeowners in states that were especially affected by the housing market crash.  What were the aims of the program, exactly?  It offered homeowners 10-year forgivable loans if they could meet certain eligibility criteria.  These loans then would allow them to “bring past-due mortgages current and make monthly payments for up to 18 months” while they worked to “get back on their feet,” reported the Chicago Tribune.
How much were the loans for?  When the program started, the loans were capped at $25,000, but by April 2012 the cap increased to $35,000.  With the increase in the potential loan amount, the hardest hit program gradually “widened the pool of potential participants because it offered more money to help seriously delinquent borrowers become current on their loans.”  And in many cases, it worked.  According to Illinois’ report to the Treasury Department, more than fifty percent of the homeowners who applied for assistance through the hardest hit program received it.  As of June in Illinois alone, that totals more than 7,000 people and nearly $122 million in funds.  So it looks like the hardest hit program has been successful by the Treasury Department count.  But what’s being done now that the program is drawing to a close?
Additional Illinois Measures to Aid Struggling Homeowners
You might reminder that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill to extend the foreclosure grace period last June.  That bill originally went into force in 2009 and was intended to give homeowners a 90-day grace period to work out a plan to avoid foreclosure.  Quinn extended that bill, the Homeowner Protection Act, through year 2016.  With the bill extension, homeowners will be eligible for that 90-day grace period for at least the next several years.
What else?  The Illinois Building Blocks Program is on the rise.  It’s an initiative to “encourage eligible homebuyers to purchase vacant properties in 15 depressed communities by offering mortgage financing and $10,000 down in payment assistance.”  According to the Illinois Housing Department Authority (IHDA), about 250 homes have already been sold through the program, and another 427 people have plans to buy through Building Blocks.
The IHDA is also keeping tabs on mortgager service improvement.  According to Mary Kenney, the IHDA executive director, Illinois has seen some progress.  For instance, loan modifications through the federal government have effectively assisted many families in the state.  At the same time, however, Kenney emphasized that the state government plans to “continue to help struggling homeowners,” and that the IHDA “is trying to evaluate how it can assist in a continued recovery of the state’s housing market.”
Do you have questions or concerns about the housing market in Illinois?  Or are you having difficulties with your monthly mortgage payments?  An experienced foreclosure defense attorney can assist today.  Don’t hesitate to contact us.
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