Foreclosure Research

Woodstock Institute identifies trends and impacts of the foreclosure crisis and works to limit foreclosures’ negative effects on communities.

This is an image of keys over a blueprint for a house
July 7, 2016

This report summarizes some of the successes of the work of the organizations that participated in the Regional Housing Partnership (RHP), which was supported by the Chicago Community Trust.

This is the title page of the report, it contains an image of a court room gavel.
June 2, 2016

This report examines the development, implementation, and modification of the Circuit Court of Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program as it related to the court process for handling foreclosure cases to learn lessons that may be applied to address the negative impacts of the next crisis.

Woodstock Institute Theory of Change graphic
April 20, 2016

In this first part of our Theory of Change series of blog posts and images, Woodstock President Dory Rand explains the ways in which Woodstock Institute is working to achieve our mission of creating a just financial system in which lower-wealth people and communities, and people and communities of color, can achieve economic security and community prosperity. In this series, our research and policy staff will discuss the strategies we use to effect positive, lasting financial systems change. 

Illinois State Capitol Building
March 1, 2016

Illinois’s legislative session is in full swing, and Woodstock is monitoring many bills that fall within the scope of our mission: to create a just financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities as well as people and communities of color can achieve economic security and prosperity.  Here are some of the bills that we are supporting this session.

Photo of a traditional Chicago Bungalow.
February 4, 2016

The Chicago six county region had an 11.2 percent decline in foreclosure filings, and Chicago a 9.6 percent decline, between 2014 and 2015. Chicago Community Areas with the greatest declines from 2014 to 2015 include Armour Square (60 percent), Forest Glen and Oakland (43 percent), and Irving Park (39 percent).

December 2, 2015

Presented by Spencer Cowan at the South Side Builders Association

November 30, 2015

By Maureen Foertsch McKinney

Tristian Ellis’ test scores in reading and math dropped dramatically this fall from last. The difference: the Ellis family had its own apartment last year. Now, the family of four stays in a shelter on Chicago’s far north side.

Tags: Homelessness
July 31, 2015

By Dan Weissman 

Homes that are underwater — mortgaged for more than they’re worth — represent a much smaller fraction of the housing market than they did a few years ago, according to a new report from RealtyTrac, a real estate data company. However, some parts of the country are doing much better than others.

May 20, 2015

By James Fuller

The millions lost by expelling federal inmates from Kane County jail can all be balanced out with corresponding expense cuts, according to Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer. But he's still going to need an additional $800,000 to stay out of the red this year.

May 20, 2015

By Cara Ball

James Woods is enjoying the renovations recently made to his Austin home.

The 45-year resident of Austin was one of dozens of West Siders whose homes got special attention April 25 from Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago, a volunteer organization that works to revitalize low-income housing and communities.

April 15, 2015

By John Gamino

[7]322 South Laflin is a brick, two-story apartment building with broken windows and an unlocked front door. It wouldn’t look inhabited save for a few bottles of shampoo visible in one of the windows of the upper floor. It completed foreclosure in June of last year, when, like most foreclosures, it was sold back to the mortgage lender, Selene Finance LP.

April 3, 2015

By Teresa Puente

From an antique mall on the far North Side’s Edgewater to Mexican restaurants in the Lower West Side’s Pilsen and homes on the SouthSide’s Marquette Park, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once marched for housing justice, there are “Chuy” signs.

February 27, 2015

By Shawn Davis

RSI started running three foreclosure mediation programs in 2014, which means we’ve spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about how to make mediation services more accessible and increase program usage rates. Such issues can be a challenge and often require creativity, especially with limited resources. Here’s what we’ve learned:

January 23, 2015

By Alana Semuels 

CHICAGO—When he moved back to Chicago after being away for 15 years, Maurice Samuels, 40, never thought he’d live in Woodlawn. He grew up in the area on the South Side of Chicago, and remembered its deterioration well. When he left in his twenties, Woodlawn "used to be run down," he said. There were vacant homes and walking around, he said, you didn't feel safe.

September 23, 2014

By Amie Schaenzer

As the Chicago area continues to dig itself out from a housing crisis that has hit the suburbs hard in recent years, the first half of 2014 did bring some good news.

Tags: foreclosures
September 12, 2014

By Jessica Wenck 

Imagine coming home from work one day to a note on your front door saying your home was no longer yours because it had gone into foreclosure.

Tags: foreclosures
September 10, 2014

By Michael Romain

The detrimental effects of foreclosed properties in neighborhoods is well-documented. They often drag down the real and assessed values of properties within their vicinity; they put a strain on municipal budgets in various ways, such as the necessity of extra policing and upkeep; and they taint a community’s overall appeal.

Tags: foreclosures
September 8, 2014

By Ellyn Fortino

Chicago's six-county region recorded 13,916 new foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014, a nearly 38 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest level reached since 2007, according to a report by the Woodstock Institute.

Tags: foreclosures
September 8, 2014

By Steven Jack 

Foreclosures in the Chicago area continue to decline, according to newly released real estate research that indicates foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014 decreased nearly 40 percent from the same time one year ago.


Tags: foreclosures
September 5, 2014

By Robin Amer

When James Kpoto bought his house in Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood in 2001, he knew he had made a terrible mistake. He moved to the 2300 block of Ilion Avenue North at the advice of his uncle, also an immigrant from Liberia. But his uncle didn’t tell him how bad crime was there — worse than in most other areas according to police data.

“There were shootings and killings almost every day,” Kpoto recalls. “It was scary.”

September 5, 2014

By Brian Honea

The number of foreclosure filings in a six-county region in Illinois that includes Chicago dropped by nearly 38 percent from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014, falling to its lowest level since 2007, according to data released by the Woodstock Institute on September 4.

Tags: foreclosures
September 5, 2014

By Mary Ellen Podmolik

Initial foreclosure filings during the first half of the year were at their lowest level in the Chicago area since 2007, new data shows, but getting homes through the process and out on the other side continues to slow the local housing market's recovery in some communities more than others.

Tags: Foreclosure
September 4, 2014

Completed foreclosure auctions decline gradually

September 3, 2014
Aggregated by community area, ward, suburban region, and municipality, Woodstock's first half of 2013 through first half of 2014 foreclosure update offers community stakeholders the information they need to understand the scope of the problem and measure the success of their
August 11, 2014

By Steve Sadin

Lake County Circuit Judge Mitch Hoffman of Highland Park has been stemming the tide of foreclosure suits one home at a time, taking his message about the court’s Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program on the road.

Tags: foreclosures
July 9, 2014
The head of federal agency that oversees housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac visited Chicago today to tout the government's mortgage relief program, but didn't satisfy some local advocates who say the agency isn't doing enough to help struggling homeowners.
July 8, 2014

CHICAGO—The Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Mel Watt, will visit Chicago today to urge homeowners to apply for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). HARP provides refinance opportunities to homeowners who are current on their mortgages and whose homes are worth less than the outstanding mortgage debt (also known as being underwater). In the absence of a program such as HARP, mortgage lenders do not typically approve refinances for homeowners with underwater homes.


May 14, 2014
Six years after the financial collapse of 2008, the fight to rebuild our communities has not ended.
Data portal graph
April 14, 2014

Nearly a year ago, Woodstock launched our online data portal in order to deliver meaningful data on the Chicago six county region for our community partners in a user-friendly way.

April 11, 2014

Woodstock and other advocates have long raised the issue of vacant properties in the Chicago region and the seemingly endless ways they negatively affect our communities.