Cook County is currently home to 55,000 vacant properties with 33,000 of them in Chicago alone.
Many may be the result of foreclosures -- a process that, in Illinois, takes a whopping 800 days from filing to get the property back on the market. The average is about 565 days, making ours one of the five longest foreclosure times in the country.
As the process drags on, many of those homes sit unoccupied in what are known as zombie properties. The Woodstock Institute took a look at those homes which have been foreclosed on, but three years later, those same homes were still in the foreclosure process.
On a gray morning in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, Jerome Baker's door seems to be revolving. As a housing counselor for Neighborhood Housing Services, where the motto is to help residents buy, fix or keep, Baker says he's helping more residents with keeping than buying.
“It's horrible. Houses are being foreclosed on at an alarming rate, and the homes that are being foreclosed on, there's nothing being done to keep them,” he said.