Chicago area feels credit crunch

September 16, 2008 3:13:26 PM PDT
How is Chicago faring in this credit crisis? Changes in the market and economy are trickling down. Banks are becoming more conservative with their lending and there is less credit available.

In May, 6,000 Cook County residents filed for foreclosure. That number is up 57-percent from last May. It's a sign that the foreclosure crisis continues- both in Chicago and across the country. Now, those fighting on the front lines to save their homes are also fighting market forces.

"We're struggling trying to pay these bills and you turn for help and everybody is like, well, you can't do this or we can give you an interest rate of something that's ridiculouS. It's discouraging," said Leonia Hopkins, homeowner, who has been trying to get out of a mortgage she couldn't afford, but banks wouldn't work with her because of poor credit.

On Wednesday, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger -- flanked by county commissioners and local ministers-- will propose a resolution to encourage a state moratorium on foreclosures and a threat to companies contributing to the foreclosure crisis that would pull county money if they are not committed to homeowner relief.

"If institutions are cooperating trying to give people a chance to keep their homes, we thought, if that isn't some, we could ask that the county withdraw money from the institution," said President Todd Stroger, Cook County Board

The Woodstock Institute studies the impact of the economy on low income neighborhoods. Woodstock's vice president expects more foreclosures with less credit available and tougher lending standards. He says an extension on the foreclosure process would give homeowners more time to work with lenders and get counseling.

"It is an extension of the delinquencies period prior to foreclosure filing, that might be something that is appropriate to make sure that the borrowers have the opportunity to talk to counselors," said Geoff Smith, Woodstock Institute

Hopkins could not get new mortgage terms on her own, so she turned to the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA). The agency counsels homeowners and helps negotiate more affordable mortgages. With NACA, Hopkins got a restructured mortgage she can live with so she can live in her home.

The NACA is offering workshops. To find out about the program or to see a schedule, visit NACA.com or call 1-888-302-NACA.

Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America
(888) 302-NACA or (888) 302-6222

Click on the link below and enter your zip code to find a workshop near you:

NACA.com/workshop/workshopIntro-refi.jsp

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