Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quinn signs foreclosure grace period bill

Against a backdrop of glossy photos showing a dozen foreclosed homes along a single block in Chicago Lawn, Gov. Pat Quinn today visited the Southwest Side neighborhood to sign a law that gives struggling homeowners an extra 90 days before lenders can force them out.
"It's the difference between a job lost and a job found," said Jeff Bartow, executive director of the Southwest Organizing Project, a non-profit community group that has been working with lawmakers and residents on ways to solve the growing foreclosure problem.

Quinn called the legislation an important step in addressing the crisis that has swept Chicago, the state and country.

The new law gives homeowners extra time to work with lenders, by prohibiting foreclosures in the first 30 days of delinquency. Lenders must tell homeowners they have another 30 days to work with a credit counselor--and give them yet another 30 days if they see a credit counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But more needs to be done, the governor said.

"This is a day we're gong to commit ourselves to straightening out a major problem," Quinn said before signing the law at the Sisters of St. Casimir Motherhouse on West Marquette Road in the neighborhood, which Bartow's group said was targeted by "predatory" sub-prime lenders eager to make a commission on loans they knew were shaky.

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