Foreclosure Research - Blog Posts

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).

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.

March 19, 2014

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a report earlier this month finding that adoption of a fast-track foreclosure process for abandoned properties in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania would save the states at least $24 million annually.

December 5, 2013
Vacant homes are posing obstacles to recovery for communities throughout the Chicago region and beyond.
November 8, 2013
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) recently announced an important new resource for municipalities looking to reduce the negative impacts of vacant residential buildings on their communities.
October 29, 2013
Communities are struggling to emerge from the devastation of the foreclosure crisis. While our neighborhoods make efforts to recover, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—has refused to implement policies proven to protect vulnerable homeowners from foreclosure.
October 15, 2013

How can organizations from different sectors overcome barriers and collaborate to promote a housing market recovery and revitalize communities?

Tags: rhopi
September 24, 2013

For our 40th anniversary, we have secured some incredible keynote speakers you’re sure to enjoy. From a range of backgrounds and expertise, our speakers will make you think differently about the work you do every day.

August 28, 2013

Governor Quinn signed SB 56, the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Act (PTFA), into law last week. Illinois’ PTFA extends basic protections to renters living in buildings that go into foreclosure. 

August 16, 2013

Is the Chicago region housing market turning a corner? New data we released this week offer some optimism—foreclosure filings, which signify the beginning of the foreclosure process, dropped by more than a third across the Chicago six county region from the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2013.

July 19, 2013
Woodstock Institute receives $500,000 to track neighborhood economic indicators and trends
Rep. Watt
June 11, 2013

While some headlines claim that the housing market is recovering, we know that too many homeowners have not.  

May 1, 2013
We applaud President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Rep. Watt is a candidate with strong qualifications in economic policy who understands the issues facing consumers in the financial marketplace. Rep. Watt has served in Congress for 20 years and is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he has advocated for affordable housing, fair lending, and consumer protections. In 2009, he co-sponsored the Credit CARD Act that enacted important protections for credit card borrowers.  
September 7, 2011

With home values continuing a steep decline, little change in the unemployment rate, and 26 percent of Illinoisans owing more than their home is worth, little has been done to buoy confidence that an economic recovery is at hand. A settlement of the investigations surrounding last year’s robo-signing scandal that, among other things, achieves widespread principal reduction commitments from major servicers, could change that–but only if done carefully.

June 23, 2011

“In New York State, it would take lenders 62 years at their current pace, the longest time frame in the nation, to repossess the 213,000 houses now in severe default or foreclosure, according to calculations by LPS Applied Analytics, a prominent real estate data firm.
Clearing the pipeline in New Jersey, which like New York handles foreclosures through the courts, would take 49 years. In Florida, Massachusetts and Illinois, it would take a decade.”--Backlog of Cases Gives a Reprieve on Foreclosures (David Streitfeld, New York Times)

June 17, 2011

We recently reported that three banks—Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo—received punitive action from Treasury for failing to meet the standards of the Home Affordable Modification Program. The three servicers had their incentive payments for successful permanent modifications and short sales suspended for one quarter—and possibly longer, if they don’t shape up. We know that homeowners are facing difficulties working with many more servicers than only those three, however. How are the rest of them doing according to HAMP’s auditors? Take a look at these charts below the jump.

June 15, 2011

The latest report on the Obama Administration’s foreclosure prevention program includes the news that Treasury has, for the first time, taken punitive action against servicers who exhibit poor performance on the Home Affordable Modification Program (see our previous analyses). HAMP has been beset by difficulties, most notably that the 608,615 permanent modifications active today fall far short of the 3-4 million homeowners that Treasury aimed to reach. Consumer advocates have called for Treasury to take action against servicers who lose borrowers’ documents, give them conflicting or counterproductive advice, and erroneously reject borrowers from the program. We are pleased to see that Treasury is withholding incentive payments from three servicers in need of substantial improvement: Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo.

May 26, 2011

The Financial Times reported yesterday that the New York Fed is investigating a whistleblower letter from Goldman Sachs’ servicing unit, Litton Loan. The charge? Litton failed to review borrowers’ HAMP modifications in a “denial sweep” strategy meant to quickly work through a backlog of applications. FT reports:

May 25, 2011

The latest data on the Obama Administration’s foreclosure prevention program show that it continues to reach Chicago area homeowners, albeit slowly. There are a few bright lights that could signal a more efficient program, but it still has a long way to go to reach a meaningful fraction of homeowners facing foreclosure.

May 17, 2011

With estimates showing a shadow inventory that numbers in the millions, it’s clear that the foreclosure crisis is not done wreaking havoc on the housing market. It seems that the ideal outcome for families, communities, and investors alike would include avoiding as many foreclosures as possible and keeping homes occupied. A number of strategies have been deployed in support of this goal, some more effective than others. One thread is common among the diverse array of approaches: the importance of HUD-certified housing counselors, who were hit with a major funding cut in the FY 2011 budget. Please take action this week to help get this funding restored for the 2012 budget.

May 12, 2011

Bank of America recently announced that it will donate 150 vacant, foreclosed properties to Chicago-area nonprofits for rehab or demolition. Housing Wire reports:

April 1, 2011

Members of the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative, of which Woodstock Institute is a lead partner, sent a letter urging the Illinois delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives to vote against H.R. 839, The HAMP Termination Act of 2011, which would cancel funding for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). In the letter, Housing Action Illinois, Metropolitan Planning Council, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and Woodstock Institute told representatives:

March 29, 2011

When the South Suburban Housing Collaborative and the West Cook County Housing Collaborative were formed in 2009, they were built on a bold idea: that municipalities could look beyond political boundaries and work together to tackle the pressing housing needs of their areas, from foreclosure response to affordable housing to strategic and sustainable development. It was a tall order, and one that had scarcely been tried elsewhere.  Almost two years later, the experiment is starting to show positive results. The West Cook County Housing Collaborative broke ground on their first project this month in Maywood.

March 25, 2011

It’s clear that vacant homes put a damper on their surrounding community. Not only are they eyesores, they put other homes at risk of losing value and may attract crime and other destabilizing elements. To minimize these risks, many municipalities have ordinances that allow them to hold the homes’ owners responsible for securing and maintaining the property. What can already-strapped local governments do if it’s unclear who the owner is, or the owner hasn’t notified them that the property is vacant?

March 17, 2011

Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate or cut funding for federal programs and agencies designed to protect homeowners, consumers, and investors reflect the same flawed thinking that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted was wrong when he testified before Congress in October 2008. Greenspan, a longtime champion of deregulation, said that he had been mistaken to put so much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and that he had failed to anticipate the foreclosure and economic crisis that such deregulation ultimately generated.

March 11, 2011

As our monthly Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) analyses have continued to point out, it’s no secret that HAMP isn’t doing enough to put a substantial dent in the wave of foreclosures hitting the Chicago area and the country. The greater Chicago region has still seen  132,289 new foreclosures since HAMP was introduced—clearly, the need for substantial and sustainable foreclosure prevention assistance is huge. We need to fix HAMP to match the realities of troubled homeowners.

March 1, 2011

Representatives from leading policy and community development organizations met with Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday, February 24 in the Roseland neighborhood to examine ways to stop the scourge of vacant homes on Chicago area communities.