A lack of transparency in loan servicers’ decision-making processes often frustrates homeowners applying for help from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). If homeowners were turned away from HAMP, their servicer was not required until recently to provide more than a simple explanation—“missing paperwork” or “ineligible borrower” would suffice. If homeowners have reason to believe that they are eligible, the lack of specific denial information gives them little to work with if they try to contest the decision.
Ed Gorman of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition wrote in an email to supporters:
"The initiative is part of a new Cook County Circuit Court call that intends to move confirmed abandoned properties through the foreclosure process and stabilize neighborhoods affected by blight. BofA began a similar program in Detroit, helping to identify 100 vacant properties for demolition. The bank will contribute to the cost of the operations.”
Affordable rental housing is a critical, but increasingly limited, resource throughout the Chicago region. As more families lose their homes to foreclosure, more families are in need of rental housing. Additionally, an increasing number of rental buildings are disappearing to foreclosure. According to the DePaul Institute for Housing Studies, 559 multifamily rental buildings in West Cook County had a foreclosure filed on them in 2009, affecting 1,712 units. That’s up 83 percent from 2007, when 296 buildings with 933 units entered foreclosure.
That’s why we oppose recent efforts to eliminate HAMP and other foreclosure response programs, like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Pulling out support to distressed homeowners at this juncture would be disastrous for neighborhoods trying to recover from the foreclosure crisis.
Woodstock Institute Senior Vice President Geoff Smith presented the findings of a new report that found that thousands of foreclosed, vacant homes in the City of Chicago are likely poorly maintained, lack clear ownership, and threaten to destabilize neighborhoods. “The steward relationship between loan servicers and the homes in our neighborhoods is broken,” noted Smith.