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Chicago Home Foreclosures: No End in Sight

When the housing bubble of 2006 burst in Chicago, area foreclosures were concentrated on the South and West sides of the city. The demographics largely consisted of low-income homeowners who were burdened with unaffordable, abusive sub-prime loans. Through 2008, the foreclosure crisis worsened as it spread like wildfire over the rest of Chicago until reaching Cook County's suburbs.

Today, there are about 70,000 outstanding foreclosures in Cook County, an alarming number that ignited an emergency summit. The summit, which occurred late last month, was headed by Dr. Leon Finney, a longtime community organizer and civil rights leader well known throughout the city of Chicago. The summit was serious enough to draw the likes of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, (via video), Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Chicago Commissioner for Economic Development and Planning Andrew Mooney, and other important elected officials and community leaders.

The summit produced a working group of individuals who were tasked with finding local solutions to Chicago and Cook County's foreclosure crisis over the course of the next several months. Solutions being considered include significant improvement in home-ownership counseling, common sense bank regulations and laws that protect homeowners.

As it stands, many of Chicago's homeowners feel trapped and uncertain about the future. The truth is that home foreclosures can impair entire communities. Homes and condominiums become abandoned when homeowners are forced out and evicted. These conditions tend to attract trespassers, or worse, a criminal element. Neighborhoods further deteriorate and more residents consider abandoning their homes, many of which are underwater, with families owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

Hopefully the recent summit brings about some productive ideas about helping Chicago homeowners and neighborhoods.

Source: Chicago foreclosure crisis prompts summit

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