SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) was pleased to hear Governor Quinn, in his State of the State Address, express his commitment to two priorities she shares: helping people stay in their homes, and protecting neighborhoods from falling home values caused by poorly-maintained vacant properties. Collins is the chief sponsor of legislation that would enable municipalities to hold lenders responsible for the upkeep of properties in foreclosure once the occupants have relocated.
“Despite some recovery in the housing market, property values remain low in many neighborhoods because of the prevalence of abandoned, unsafe,and poorly-maintained buildings,” Senator Collins said. “I look forward to working with the governor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and other state and community leaders to stop the cycle of home loss and falling home values.”
Illinois was one of the top five states in the first half of 2011 in terms of percentage of loans in the foreclosure process. The Chicago region saw a 13.5 percent drop in new foreclosures in 2011, but Cook County experienced only an 8 percent decrease.
Senator Collins has long advocated for making counseling, legal aid, and other resources available to homeowners facing foreclosure. She applauds the governor for unveiling the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network, which brings together existing resources in one place. Sen. Collins urges anyone facing foreclosure to visit www.keepyourhomeillinois.com to find a nearby financial counselor or service provider.
President Barack Obama also had some good news for homeowners this week, asking Congress to approve a new refinancing plan that would allow a borrower who has not yet missed payments to refinance at a better rate if the value of the home has fallen below the amount he or she still owes. The refinanced loan would be backed by the government, even for those with mortgages from private lenders.
“I applaud the President for designing innovative solutions to keep people in their homes,” Senator Collins said. “If we can slow the rate of foreclosure and require lenders to maintain vacant properties, we can strengthen our neighborhoods and allow them to finally recover from this housing crisis.”