Facing foreclosure? City wants to help

January 30, 2008 4:06:12 PM PST
Homeowners in Chicago facing foreclosure are being encouraged to ask the city for help. It's part of a new initiative to keep people facing financial crisis in their homes. The city is now offering financial counseling to Chicagoans who may lose their homes.

A recent study ranks Illinois ninth in the country in the number of foreclosures. Mayor Richard Daley says for many Chicago residents. It's not too late to save their homes.

While Congress still works on reforming lending laws and helping homeowners in crisis, Mayor Daley wants Chicagoans to know help is already available. The city has organized what it calls "borrower outreach days" bringing together experts who will look at your finances and mortgage and hopefully find a way to prevent foreclosure. ABC7 met Nettie McGee Wednesday. Her home was saved.

"It scared me because I know that I would be in the position of losing my home," McGee said.

Like so many Chicagoans, 73-year-old Nettie McGee took out an adjustable rate mortgage on her Morgan Park home. For two years her monthly payment was $707. In November, she was told her interest rate would shoot up three points, or more than $200 a month.

McGee was invited to testify before Congress.

"Please help people like me," she told Congress December 6, 2007.

Now, after getting free help from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, McGee's payment is back to what it was.

Mayor Daley wants other Chicagoans facing mortgage foreclosure not to be afraid to ask for such help.

"Many people are very, very proud, senior citizens, working families, single mothers. They could be embarrassed, ashamed, frightened about the whole process," Daley said.

Daley is encouraging Chicagoans who need help to attend one of the city's "borrower outreach days." One is happening at the Tuley Park Fieldhouse Wednesday evening.

Already, 600 Chicago homeowners have been offered free legal assistance to work out plans with their lenders to save their homes. Chicago had nearly 14,000 foreclosures last year, up from just over 10,000 in 2006.

Joining the mayor Wednesday was Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who estimated that one-third of the nation's mortgage foreclosures probably could have been avoided if black and Hispanic home buyers weren't so afraid to borrow from banks.

"We've got to get to the point, and a lot of times people don't want to talk about this...get to the point where black and Hispanics go to banks and stop being afraid," said Jackson.

If you're in need of help, there's a free borrower outreach day going on Wednesday night, January 30, until 8 p.m. at Tuley Park Fieldhouse, 501 E. 90th Place.

Borrower Outreach Days

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuley Park Field house

501 E. 90th Place

Saturday, February 9
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sheldon Heights Church

11355 S. Halsted Street

Saturday, February 23
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Austin Town Hall Cultural Center

5610 W. Lake Street

Saturday, March 1
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hamilton Park

513 W. 72nd Street

Saturday, March 15
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Warren Park

6601 N. Western Avenue

Thursday, March 20
3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Fuller Park

331 W. 45th Street