Housing Counseling

A homeowner facing foreclosure is often worried, stressed, and confused about the best course of action to take in order to save his or her home. Housing counselors serve as vital intermediaries between troubled homeowners and their mortgage servicers and work with homeowners to determine the best possible options for staying in their homes. About 45 percent of homeowners who complete counseling are able to stay in their homes, which is higher than those homeowners who do not complete counseling. 
 
However, most housing counselors in the Chicago region do not have sufficient capacity to meet the recent influx of demand for their services. This problem is particularly acute in South and West Cook County, which have high rates of foreclosure but relatively few counseling agencies, and the collar counties. Clear lines of communication with servicers are crucial to finding the best option for the homeowner, and counselors still struggle with a lack of servicer responsiveness, transparency, and accountability. Borrowers often do not seek help until they are seriously delinquent on the mortgages or already in the foreclosure process, when it may be too late to keep the borrower in his or her home. The demand for legal counseling has also risen with that of foreclosure counseling, with low-income home owners in the Chicago area increasingly needing legal representation. The need is particularly acute in the southern and western suburbs of Chicago, where the numbers of foreclosures are risingand legal aid and court-based resources are scarce.
 

Counselors need more resources in order to adequately meet the need for their services, as well as ongoing training to keep up with the rapidly changing options for preventing foreclosure. Servicers need to improve internal recordkeeping and communication procedures and increase transparency into their decision-making process. Outreach must be appropriately targeted and motivate borrowers to seek help before their loans are seriously delinquent. 
 
This page details efforts by Regional HOPI partners to increase capacity of counselors by advocating for federal and state resources and holding regular trainings on best practices, pioneer new ways of reaching borrowers, improve data collection on counseling outcomes, and improve networks among counselors. The Regional HOPI Action Plan identified Chicago region needs for housing counseling and legal aid and prioritized enhancing outreach, increasing access, and improving networks.
   

 CHICAGO—Both foreclosure filings and foreclosure auctions declined substantially in the Chicago six county region between 2013 and 2014, new data from Woodstock Institute show. Foreclosure filings, which indicate the beginning of the foreclosure process, fell by 33.7 percent in the Chicago six county region between 2013 and 2014. Foreclosure auctions, which indicate the completion...

The Housing Market Conditions Report is released in conjunction with the annual update of the IHS Housing Market Indicators Data Portal. The objective of this report is to help users of the IHS Housing Market Indicators Data Portal understand how to interpret IHS market conditions indicators such as levels of...

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Independent settlement monitor Joseph Smith released his third in a...

On March 18, 2013, more than 4.2 million people were sent postcard notices about payments they will receive as a result of an agreement between federal banking regulators and 13 mortgage servicers. As a result of this agreement, the Independent Foreclosure Review ceased at those servicers. A full list of companies and their affiliates or subsidiaries covered by the agreement are listed below....

This post originally appeared as an email from the Illinois Attorney General's office.
 
There are a number of mortgage related settlements currently ongoing, and the Illinois Attorney General’s office wants to ensure that you have clear, concise information.  If you have received a letter or postcard regarding a settlement, please read the information...

Program Helps 9,000 Illinois Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure; Governor Urges Families in Need to Apply by Sept. 30 Deadline 
 
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Washington, DC – Today, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition released a new Fair Housing Planning Resource Guide, entitled "Understanding the Proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule." This guide is intended to serve as resource for housing & community development professionals who are seeking to understand the recently proposed...

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a tool to help consumers find local housing counseling agencies to answer their questions or address their concerns. The Bureau is releasing the tool in advance of the January 2014 effective dates for its mortgage rules. The Bureau also published guidance for lenders on how to provide mortgage applicants...

Community development leaders took a grim view on some impending changes to HUD HOME regulations, telling Shelterforce in 2012 that the new rules would hurt...

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