Over half of Illinois homeowners facing foreclosure don't have a lawyer, according to Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
But Madigan announced new help for those homeowners Thursday - a $650,000 grant to Chicago's Legal Aid Society that provide legal help for people who's homes are in foreclosure.
“Through this grant, many more Chicago area homeowners will now have a voice in the justice system," Madigan said.
The money comes from a $25 billion settlement with the mortgage industry over the robo-signing scandal. Of that $25 billion, Illinois gets $1 billion, and Madigan has committed 20 percent of that money toward legal aid for homeowners.
The Legal Aid Society, part of social service provider Metropolitan Family Services, will use the money to hire an attorney to provide assistance to communities on Chicago's South Side and the southern suburbs. It will also be used to hire a paralegal at their Blue Island and Palos Hills offices and the Cook County Courthouse in Markham, as well as to support their current staff that addresses foreclosure cases.
Kendra Reinshagen, executive director for the Legal Aid Society, says foreclosure cases are detailed and time-consuming, and her organization needs more staff to serve families dealing with foreclosure.
"Up to now, these cases have had to compete with all the other urgent requests that come to us. With this funding, we can devote two additional full-time staff to helping families in communities that have born the brunt of the foreclosure crisis in Illinois,” said Reinshagen.
The money is some of the first funds to be released from the settlement. Madigan said her office is considering other grant proposals for additional legal help for homeowners.
The Attorney General has more information on the settlement for homeowners on her website or at the Homeowner's Helpline--(866) 544-7151.
Photo credit: Shutterstock/real estate foreclosure home