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Our View: Mortgage help

Updated: November 14, 2012 3:08PM

If you’re behind on your mortgage, worried that you soon may be or are just burdened by being underwater on it, there is help available through the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network. Judging from the foreclosure and sheriff’s sale notice daily in this newspaper, there are hundreds of you out there.

IFPN was formed in February as an umbrella agency to oversee and coordinate various mortgage assistance programs and make it easier for homeowners to get help. And there are plenty who need help.

As of August, Illinois led the nation in foreclosure rates, with one in nearly 300 homes affected, and nearly 13,500 properties statewide bank owned or in some stage of foreclosure. The agency has trained counselors to guide troubled homeowners in finding the right relief program for them.

IFPN’s main program appears impressive — the Hardest Hit Program began a year ago and is financed by $445 million in federal funds.

It provides a maximum of $25,000 to make current a delinquent mortgage and cover monthly payments for up to 18 months for those who’ve had at least a 20 percent drop in income because of losing their job or being underemployed.

Mary Kenney, executive director of
the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which operates IFPN, said more than 500 Hardest Hit applications are being approved each month and IFPN hopes to boost interest in the program with meetings across the state.

It’s easy to be cynical and critical about state government in Illinois, but it has many programs that provide important services to those in need. There’s a foreclosure crisis in Illinois and in our region, and IFPN is confronting it head-on.

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