For homeowners delinquent in their mortgage payments, January, 2009 will usher in a frightening time. Effective January 9th, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Foreclosure Moratorium, imposed during the holiday season, will end.
Predictions for thousands of new foreclosure filings, fed by a weak U.S. Economy, a continued freeze in the credit markets, declining home values amidst high homes-for-sale inventory, and the ongoing threat of job loss will cause concern, and sleepless nights, for many others trying to stave off delinquency.
Several Chicago and Chicago Area assistance groups will be proactive in the New Year, while, at the same time, remaining hopeful that the new Obama Administration will take steps to assist many homeowners facing default.
Title Company ATG - Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund - has manned a hotline for some time for general legal questions on the home buying and selling process. On the morning of January 10th, between 9AM and Noon, ATG will dedicate one morning to homeowners with legal concerns specific to foreclosure.
The ATG Hotline - 800-252-0402.
The special calling block will be of highest benefit to those facing the early stages of the foreclosure process, perhaps only recently delinquent, or about to become delinquent. Lawyers on the hotline will offer free legal help, and also be prepared to refer the callers to local housing counseling agencies throughout the Chicago area.
Liz Caton, Director of Counseling Services for the Northwest Side Housing Center, will offer five separate community outreach events to fearful homeowners, beginning with one at Truman College in the Uptown Neighborhood of Chicago, 1145 W. Wilson Avenue, on February 7th. The Center is collaborating with several Chicago Area housing counseling groups as well as a credit union.
In 2008, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago provided individual counseling to over 3,600 families in risk of foreclosure around the area - double the number served in 2007. They lead an expanded team of counselors in 2009, and plan to offer workshops throughout the city addressing concerns of distressed homeowners.
Says Michael Van Zalingen, the organization's Director of Homeownership Services, "The shame of [foreclosure] is going away when they realize it's not just them. And when they hear the reasons other get behind, it makes them feel better."
The Chicago Department of Housing plans to continue its program of Borrower Outreach Days next year, and to expand the program to more neighborhoods across Chicago. Their programs include homeowner workshops, legal assistance, and loan workout sessions with representatives from lenders and specially-trained counselors. Their most recent program, earlier in December at North Park Village in the North Park Neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, drew in excess of 350 concerned homeowners.
For more info on Homeowner Help Initiatives in the Chicago Area, and to share those being offered in your hometown, visit BlogChicagoHomes.com, with a link to Mary Ellen Podmolik's article in the Chicago Tribune last Friday, December 26th.
And, please share your comments here.
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO