Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law that will ensure struggling homeowners in Illinois have a grace period of up to 90 days before foreclosure - giving families extra time to get back on track and stay in their homes. The bill extends an existing law the governor first signed in 2009 and is part of his commitment to keeping Illinois families in their homes and driving our economy forward.
"Keeping families in their homes ensures strong communities throughout Illinois and drives our economy forward," Governor Quinn said. "The Homeowner Protection Act has already helped more than 40,000 Illinois families, and this extension will ensure that it helps many more for years to come."
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) and Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), House Bill 99 extends the Illinois Homeowner Protection Act by three years, to July 2016.
"Too many families continue to face foreclosure because they did not know where to turn for help when paying their mortgage bills first became a struggle," Rep. Zalewski said. "By extending the Homeowner Protection Act, we are now giving families a much-needed opportunity to deal with their financial situation before they are at risk of losing their homes."
"Foreclosure counseling is a proven tool in the effort to stabilize neighborhoods and give homeowners a chance to make it through tough times," Sen. Collins said. "Approved counselors can help homeowners evaluate their finances, take control of their spending, negotiate with their lenders and ultimately start making manageable payments and keep their homes."
The Homeowner Protection Act gives Illinois homeowners a grace period of up to 90 days on mortgage foreclosures for homeowners who enter housing counseling. Under the law, mortgage holders must notify struggling homeowners who are at least 30 days late on their payments that they have 30 days to seek housing counseling to get their loan back on track. If the homeowner enters counseling, they get an additional 30 days to work out a payment plan or refinance their loan.
The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly nearly unanimously and takes effect immediately.
Since taking office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Governor Quinn has worked to keep Illinois families in their homes. In the last year, properties in foreclosure have dropped to 78,353, a 24.3 percent decrease, and the downward trend continues in Illinois. In 2012, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN), a one-stop comprehensive, free resource to connect struggling homeowners with assistance to keep them in their homes and help them from being victims of mortgage fraud. Approximately 770,000 families have accessed this free assistance through the IFPN.
In September 2011, Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Hardest Hit Program - an initiative that provides monthly mortgage payment assistance and reinstatement assistance to households that are struggling with income loss due to unemployment or underemployment. $201 million has already been committed to more than 8,400 homeowners in 95 of the 102 counties in Illinois. Each month, the state approves 400 to 500 new families who can keep their homes.