$4.7M grant to aid lll. homeowners facing foreclosure

A sign showing a foreclosed house. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
August 28, 2012 3:44:18 PM PDT
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday a $4.7 million grant for free legal assistance to help struggling homeowners keep their homes.

Basement clean up from a recent sewer backup is no fun, but the Haggertys have gotten used to treading water. An attempt to modify their mortgage resulted in new terms they could not keep up with. They have been fighting foreclosure for a year.

"Where are we gonna go. You know what, I'm gonna fight for this house," said Maureen Haggerty.

The Haggertys are among those fighting foreclosure with free legal help from Legal Assistance Foundation or LAF. LAF will soon add more staff to help more homeowners.

"Almost nobody who is trying to go up against a bank has a good result," said Madigan. "It's just that simple which is way putting this money into legal aid is so important."

Madigan announced the grant for $47 grant for LAF to hire more attorneys, paralegals and intake staff.

"In my 20 years of working on foreclosure cases, I've learned that having legal representation can mean the difference between saving your home and losing it," said Jim Brady, Legal Assistance Foundation.

The Haggertys hope to settle on their original modification which they can afford.

"I just needed the legal knowledge that's where LAF had helped us stay in our home for our family and hopefully they will be able to help other people like us," said Maureen Haggerty.

"I have the american dream. I've have three kids, a beautiful wife, a home. It's up and down, but we're not giving up," said Tim Haggerty.

The grant for LAF is part of a nationwide settlement with 48 attorneys general and the nation's largest banking institutions. In total, $1 billion is expected to come to Illinois homeowners from that settlement to assist those who lost their homes, are underwater in their mortgage or those at risk of foreclosure.

Consumers seeking more information on the national settlement can contact Madigan's Homeowner's Helpline at (866) 544-7151 or visit her website, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/bankforeclosuresettlement.html . Borrowers also can visit www.NationalForeclosureSettlement.com.


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