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Supporting Information Facts

Department:

City Services

Blue Illinois

Foreclosure Prevention/Home Ownership Preservation Initiatives (HOPI)

The City of Chicago and its partners have been working to address the issue of foreclosures for a number of years, creating new initiatives to address the various aspects of the foreclosure issue.

Our efforts today are a continuation of the Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (HOPI), where any Chicago resident who is having trouble paying their mortgage can be connected to a financial counselor by calling 311.

The Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (HOPI) is a partnership between the City of Chicago, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, and key lending, investment and mortgage servicing institutions doing business in Chicago. The partnership seeks to preserve homeownership whenever possible and keep families in their homes through counseling, loss mitigation and loan workouts. When foreclosure is unavoidable, the partners seek to preserve the vacant properties as neighborhood assets.

Since 2003, the initiative has prevented more than 3,000 foreclosures, reclaimed 790 vacant, troubled buildings and counseled more than 16,900 Chicagoans.

Like every city, we must tackle the foreclosure challenges with many approaches and various different entities: Local, state and federal agencies must join with the real estate and banking communities, and other stakeholders in a candid discussion about the impact of the foreclosure crisis on our communities.

We will continue to work side by side across the city to meet the needs of our residents.

Home Ownership Preservation Frequently Asked Questions:

How does the counseling session work?

The 311 Operator will connect you with a not-for-profit, accredited housing counselor. The counseling session will take place over the phone and is completely confidential. The counselor will gather information from you about your financial obligations and work through your options for avoiding foreclosure. If appropriate, the counselor will help you contact your mortgage lender and negotiate a repayment plan. The counseling agency will:

  • Provide an in-depth assessment of the homeowner's financial situation and an individual action plan
  • Serve as a liaison between the homeowner and the mortgage company, where appropriate, to advocate for a repayment plan, loan modification or other loss mitigation strategy that will help the homeowner avoid foreclosure.
  • Provide referrals to local resources, where appropriate, for job training, tax assistance, emergency grants, and foreclosure prevention classes.

How long does the counseling session take?

You should be prepared to spend at least 45 minutes on the phone with the counselor. If you are not able to participate in a counseling session right now, you should call back as soon as you have time available. I'm not in foreclosure now, but I lost my job and am afraid I won't be able to make my mortgage payment.

Can I participate?

Yes. A counselor can help you establish a budget to get through the next few months.

Are there grants available?

Depending on your particular financial and family situation, there may be low interest loans or emergency funds available. The only way you can determine the best options available is by speaking with a housing counselor.

Is there a cost for this counseling?

The counseling is being provided free of charge to callers. The City of Chicago and participating lenders are funding the program.