Foreclosure in Beverly Hills/Morgan Park
All across the country people are worried about the impact that foreclosed homes may have on their communities. Every day we read about financial institutions that have taken a big hit as the result of less restrictive mortgage lending and of homeowners who are having difficulty making monthly payments. People in Beverly/Morgan Park are probably equally concerned about such things. Hopefully, we all will rest a little easier knowing that BAPA, the 22nd District Police and the 19th Ward have partnered on this issue for years and have worked diligently to prevent vacant homes from dominating our beautiful neighborhood. We are very fortunate to live in a community where we have not seen a marked increase in foreclosure filings.
We do have our share of foreclosed properties, but all three local agencies follow-up with mortgage companies and hold them accountable, working to insure that these homes are back on the real estate market quickly. Also, police and city agencies follow up on safety issues involving foreclosed properties that many times are neglected in other parts of the city.
In 2001, BAPA spearheaded a foreclosure prevention program that continues to be unique in Chicagoland. We subscribe to an online publication that lists new foreclosure filings throughout Cook County. We conduct a variety of searches to find homes in Beverly/Morgan Park. BAPA uses this information to identify possible trends and to target additional outreach efforts. We also follow up with mortgage companies and law enforcement agencies when fraud is suspected to have been a part of any home sale.
Foreclosure of a mortgage is a process that begins when the lender sues the defaulting property owner, usually 1 to 4 months following the first missed payment. The property owner has the opportunity to stall the foreclosure in court, but, if the owner cannot pay the mortgage, the property is sold and the new owner is given title.
When BAPA receives foreclosure filings and sales information, we immediately contact the property owners by mail, providing resources and information, and urging them to act immediately to prevent the loss of their home. Homeowners in foreclosure are extremely vulnerable to fraud because they are desperate and often seek easy answers. They may receive hundreds of letters from companies claiming that they can solve the property owner’s problems. But when a property owner receives a letter from BAPA, it is from a trusted source, an organization that has been in the community for over 60 years and able to help guide them to reputable agencies that can help them.
Basically, BAPA recommends that homeowners contact their lender as soon as they know that they may fall behind on the mortgage. If a foreclosure action is filed in Circuit Court, the homeowner should contact the mortgage company’s loss mitigation department and ask for help. The lender may be willing to set up a repayment plan or loan modification, or even provide a forbearance period that temporarily allows the homeowner to suspend or reduce payments.
Because of the increased number of foreclosures across the country, mortgage companies are now more willing to negotiate with delinquent borrowers.
Homeowners with uncooperative lenders or who are not comfortable dealing with this process can receive free help from the city of Chicago’s Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (HOPI). People can call 311 to be connected with an accredited housing counselor who can help them to communicate with their lender or help them to determine if it is actually financially feasible to keep the house.
Homeowners in foreclosure are encouraged to retain an attorney. Homeowners who cannot afford an attorney can call the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAFOMC), 312-431-2204, or can receive free help in filing motions at the Cook County Circuit Court Chancery Division Help Desk, Room 1303, Daley Center. Anyone over 60 years old, no matter their income level, is eligible to receive legal representation to address foreclosure and other consumer issues from Consumer Legal Assistance for the Elderly, sponsored by LAFOMC, 312-347-8363.