Daley announces aid for struggling homeowners

April 15, 2010 3:42:55 PM PDT
Mayor Daley announced proposals that may help struggling homeowners the aid they need.

The financial situation for some homeowners can prove difficult given the state of the economy, and the outlook can be even more intimidating for non-English-speakers.

Eight years ago, Kim Tran bought a condo in an Uptown high-rise. She owns a nail salon business, but it struggled during the recession.

"I can't make my payments," said Tran.

She lost the business last year and fell behind on her mortgage payments, and the bank filed foreclosure. Her friend came to court with her because Tran does not speak English fluently.

The courts referred her to the Chinese-American Service League. Counselors helped her negotiate a trial loan modification. The counselors said some non-English speakers do not get help in time.

There was a seven-percent rise in foreclosure filings in the first three months of 2010. The situation was not quite as bad in Chicago, but many homeowners are still struggling to hold on to their homes.

"They always keep the trouble to themselves, and they miss a golden opportunity to deal with the bank," said Ben Lau of the Chinese-American Service League.

Mayor Daley held a press conference Thursday to try and lessen the impact of foreclosures on homeowners and their neighbors.

"We're calling on Springfield to enact legislation that will give the city the authority to hold the banks and other responsible parties liable for maintaining and securing vacant properties," said Daley.

The mayor wants the state to pass laws requiring owners of foreclosed properties to maintain them, as well as laws to make it easier for banks to take possession of abandoned properties.

He also wants more city and state programs to prevent foreclosures.

"These include such things as requiring mediation prior to foreclosure, expanding homeowners' access to legal services, and education programs for homeowners facing foreclosure," said Daley.

Counselors at the Chinese-American Service League welcome efforts to expand help for homeowners.

They urge homeowners to reach out, and for friends to help those who may need speaking up for themselves.