Kelly, Durbin Highlight Re-Opening of Mortgage Assistance Program For Illinois Homeowners
EAST HAZEL CREST – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL-02), and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago President Kristin Faust today convened a meeting with south suburban mayors and homeowners to highlight the recent relaunch of the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) in Illinois and share information on how struggling homeowners can take advantage of this federal program. HHF, which re-opened to homeowners in Illinois this month, provides mortgage assistance to families struggling to make mortgage payments due to loss of income. The south suburban region has faced persistent housing challenges, with rates of foreclosure still ranking among the highest in the state.
“When a home goes into foreclosure, the family suffers and the entire neighborhood is impacted. It has become clear that we still have work to do to address the problems in the housing market and bring stability back to our communities,” Durbin said. “I supported the creation and funding of the Hardest Hit Fund at the height of the housing crisis, and I continue to support the program today. I encourage those that find themselves on the brink of foreclosure or struggling to make their mortgage payments to take advantage of these programs.”
“Helping my constituents save their homes and maintaining property values in our communities are goals I’ll continue to fight for,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “Relaunching the Hardest Hit Fund provides another critical pathway that will assist homeowners in preserving the dream they’ve worked so hard to achieve. It’s important for all of us to reach out and inform homeowners of this program and other helpful resources that can prevent foreclosure.”
"The Hardest Hit Fund is exactly the kind of innovative program that is needed to address the concerns of homeowners experiencing a financial hardship," said Kristin Faust, President, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS). "We salute Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Kelly for their leadership and urge Congress to fund more of these essential programs to address the needs of our nation's most challenged communities. NHS is prepared and ready to serve Chicago's homeowners today with information and access to HHF."
HHF was established in February 2010 to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. This year, Illinois received an additional $269 million in HHF funding to transform communities that are still facing economic challenges. Durbin advocated for these funds to be included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016, which was signed into law in December 2015.
The program, which is designed and administered in Illinois by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), provides eligible homeowners with up to $35,000 in temporary mortgage assistance. HHF assistance is provided as a five year forgivable loan and funds may have to be repaid to IHDA if the owner sells the home at a profit or refinances during the five year loan term.
Applicants must have experienced a 15 percent reduction in income due to a qualifying hardship event that was through no fault of their own, such as: unemployment; underemployment; decrease or loss of business income; loss of income due to disability or health-related event; death of spouse or title holder and divorce of spouse or title holder. The hardship must have occurred after January 1, 2010 and after the purchase of the property.
Illinois’ foreclosure rate is among the worst in the country. One of 882 families in Illinois are in some state of foreclosure. In the Chicago region, the top five Zip codes with the highest concentration of underwater homeowners are all in the south suburbs: Riverdale, Dolton, Calumet City, Richton Park, and Park Forest.
Since HHF was launched, IHDA has provided more than $339 million in mortgage assistance to over 14,000 Illinois homeowners from 100 counties across the state, including 7,423 homeowners in Cook County. Of that, NHS has served 821 homeowners.
For those interested in mortgage assistance through HHF, free applications for the program are available online through IHDA’s Illinois Hardest Hit website: https://www.illinoishardesthit.org/.