WBEZ | foreclosure http://www.wbez.org/tags/foreclosure Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Residents, city tackle problems around vacant homes and lots http://www.wbez.org/news/residents-city-tackle-problems-around-vacant-homes-and-lots-107825 <p><p>In 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan to curb criminal activity in and around vacant buildings by demolishing them. Crime is dropping, but some residents think it&rsquo;s at the expense of their property value. They worry it&rsquo;s making it harder for the housing market to recover in their communities.</p><p>And there&rsquo;s not one easy solution.</p><p>On a quiet Sunday morning in Englewood, a boarded up window was decorated with streamers, advertising an open house. But the door was locked and no one was around to show it.</p><p>Across the street, Ruthie Carpenter was unloading some groceries. She looked at the boarded up houses on her block.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what they plan on doing for these lots, but it make the neighborhood look really, really bad,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-06-24%20at%202.44.00%20PM.png" style="height: 202px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Englewood resident Ruthie Carpenter and her son Carl. She said vacant houses attract break-ins and drug use, something she’s seen on her block. (WBEZ/Tricia Bobeda)" />A house down the street was leveled just a few months ago under the city&rsquo;s safety initiative to demolish vacant properties that attract criminal activity.</p><p>The strategy initially targets the 3rd, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th police districts--areas on the South and West Sides.</p><p>&ldquo;When you tear down a building, you gotta rebuild a building, because if not, the homeowner property really goes down,&rdquo; Carpenter said. &ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t want to move into a neighborhood with all these vacant lots and boarded up buildings.&rdquo;</p><p>She said the vacant houses attract break-ins and drug use, something she&rsquo;s seen on her block.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s typical in Carpenter&rsquo;s neighborhood to see rows of abandoned houses and vacant lots and there similar views in parts of the West Side.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s where Shavonta Washington lives.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was just recently living at a foreclosed home where I was renting there. But then somehow, the whole building went under foreclosure without me knowing, but I was still paying rent. At the end of the day, I still had to leave my house and didn&rsquo;t know where to go,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />It burned her to see long abandoned homes or vacant lots where a building once stood when she&rsquo;s been struggling to rent a single room for her and her 4-year-old son.<br /><br />&ldquo;Look at these empty lots. Y&rsquo;all could build this up and put them poor people in there and have them somewhere to go. Because we know other people are laying down in their beds while we have to struggle and find somewhere for us, our child to sleep,&rdquo; she said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-06-24%20at%203.10.34%20PM.png" style="float: left; height: 204px; width: 300px;" title="Construction equipment remains on the site of a home demolished by the city. (WBEZ/Tricia Bobeda)" />Under the city&rsquo;s safety initiative, about 300 buildings have been demolished because of high crime.<br /><br />According to the city&rsquo;s buildings department, an unstable structure, a badly damaged roof or a house stripped of its wiring could be put it on the radar for demolition.</p><p>It costs between $18,000 to $24,000 to level one house, and the entire process can take longer than a year. So demolition is used as a last resort.<br /><br />Geoff Smith with the DePaul Institute of Housing Studies said there&rsquo;s a delicate balance to strike in taking down a house in a blighted area.<br /><br />&ldquo;For the most troubled buildings, where there really is no redevelopment opportunities available and that building is sort of beyond a reasonable rehab within a certain cost for that neighborhood, demolition is an option both to help stabilize the neighborhood housing market to help improve safety,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Smith said there&rsquo;s very little demand in these neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, the median sale price for a home in Englewood is $45,500. The city&rsquo;s overall median sale price is $225,000.<br /><br />Though the price index for these areas have hit a bottom, Smith said there&rsquo;s a small glimmer of hope with the market starting to slowly recover.<br /><br />&ldquo;That is a slight positive indicator, but it really has to be something we see over an extended period of time to have confidence that this is a real trend and not just a blip in prices that&rsquo;s being created by property flippers,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The city&rsquo;s Department of Housing and Economic Development said it has more than 15,000 vacant lots in stock.</p><p>It wants to get rid of these, but it&rsquo;s not so easy.</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to get someone to buy property in a depressed area, no matter how low the price is. Plus, there are more lots beyond the city&rsquo;s stock. Those might still belong to the original owner.<br /><br />In East Garfield Park, Luly Gutierrez was tending a garden next to her building.</p><p>&ldquo;There was plenty of stolen cars in the back, most of the time garbage and it was not useful for anything,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Four years ago, she and her neighbor got fed up with the mess they were living next to. They got the go ahead from their alderman to turn it into a community garden. Gutierrez said people have stopped dumping their trash there.</p><p>&ldquo;People respect the garden. I don&rsquo;t want to fence anything here. People can go back and forth. If you put a fence, it&rsquo;s like &lsquo;don&rsquo;t go there.&rsquo; It&rsquo;s not, it&rsquo;s a community garden and people can go pass. And there are some people getting some tomatoes and that&rsquo;s fine. It&rsquo;s for everybody,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>She said her block has been looking better. There are some newer rehabs on the block, nicely finished brick condos. But there&rsquo;s still room for improvement. Including a huge vacant lot Gutierrez points out across the street. She said there are more lots than hands to take care of a garden.<br /><br />Geoff Smith with Depaul said any redevelopment or stabilization strategy needs to be planned with a long term view.</p><p>&ldquo;I think a demolition isn&rsquo;t necessarily going to have an immediate positive impact on the surrounding property values. But I think if its demolition takes place as part of a broader strategy to redevelop that area, then I think in the long term, that makes sense,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Smith said it&rsquo;s difficult to picture a community garden among many vacant lots or one rehab on a block of mostly abandoned houses capable of reversing a steep, downward trend.<br /><br />But it&rsquo;s still a small step in a much larger recovery effort.<br /><br />&ldquo;When you look at what attracts future investment or what attracts investment is amenities. And that&rsquo;s community in some cases. And I think it&rsquo;s community that might make a renter in a neighborhood choose to buy in that neighborhood,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Smith said, overall, prevention is the best way to keep neighborhoods stabilized. That means keeping properties occupied.</p><p>For now, Gutierrez said there are people like her trying to take care of what&rsquo;s around them.</p><p>&ldquo;There are so many empty lots in East Garfield Park and they&rsquo;re sitting there with nothing. People want to do something and they are doing it,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The Chicago City Council recently passed an ordinance that prevents banks from evicting paying renters from foreclosed buildings. And Cook County is at the beginning stages of establishing its land bank, a strategy to cut down the current stock of vacant properties.</p><p><em>Susie An is WBEZ&rsquo;s business reporter. Follow her @<a href="http://twitter.com/soosieon" target="_blank">soosieon</a>.</em></p><h2><strong>Map of addresses where buildings were demolished as part of the city&#39;s effort to reduce criminal activity.</strong></h2><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="750" scrolling="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col1+from+1qdVIzfF1PtiaCoRwUL7J4A5MUzBVhA4etg2RqNA&amp;viz=MAP&amp;h=false&amp;lat=41.80674244761583&amp;lng=-87.64882061337391&amp;t=1&amp;z=11&amp;l=col1&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=2" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/residents-city-tackle-problems-around-vacant-homes-and-lots-107825 Morning Shift: Foreclosures and politics http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-19/morning-shift-foreclosures-and-politics-107770 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS4474_Springfield-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Foreclosures have been an issue for some time now. But what are a your rights if you are living in a foreclosed apartment? And Springfield has gone into a special session. What are the implications of the decisions which could be reached?</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-foreclosures-and-politics.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-foreclosures-and-politics" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Foreclosures and politics " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-19/morning-shift-foreclosures-and-politics-107770 A Home Denied: Struggling Against Displacement From Chicago to Palestine http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/home-denied-struggling-against-displacement-chicago-palestine-105605 <p><p>Both here and abroad, racist and militarized institutions threaten to uproot oppressed peoples from their communities. The housing justice movement in Chicago is connected to the Palestinian struggle against displacement and home demolitions.</p><p>Listen to the stories of people who have been forced from their homes, denied entry into their homeland, and resisted by occupying vacant homes and rebuilding after demolition. Join us as we learn from each other&rsquo;s movements and gain strength in our common struggles for justice and liberation.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79962479" width="100%"></iframe></p><div>Speakers: Jenine [<em>last name withheld</em>], Maria Dolores Calvillo, Merlene Robinson-Parsons, Sabrina Morey, and Yousef [<em>last name withheld</em>].</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AFSC-webstory_4.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Recorded live, Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at&nbsp;Grace Place.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 12:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/home-denied-struggling-against-displacement-chicago-palestine-105605 Friday deadline for homeowners to file a claim for national settlement http://www.wbez.org/news/friday-deadline-homeowners-file-claim-national-settlement-105028 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS342_AP070829057762-foreclosure David Zalubowski-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Friday is the deadline for homeowners to file a claim under a national mortgage foreclosure settlement from 2012.</p><p>The $25 billion settlement sets aside about $1.5 billion for eligible borrowers nationwide.</p><p>The settlement stems from a lawsuit against the nation&rsquo;s largest mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally/GMAC, Citi and Wells Fargo.</p><p>The banks are accused of fraudulent practices while servicing loans of struggling homeowners including the use of &ldquo;robo-signing&rdquo; foreclosure documents during 2008 to 2011.</p><p>But the exact payout for those borrowers depends on how many people file a claim by today.</p><p>Attorney General Lisa Madigan says about 64,000 people in the state could be eligible.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not enough [money] obviously to compensate you if you lost your home, but it is compensation that may allow you to pay a number of months of your rent and pay for the other utilities and bills that you and your family still face,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Madigan says settlement packets were mailed out to those who may be eligible. But she says borrowers should still file a claim if they think they had a troubled loan from one of the servicers during the time period.</p><p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t have to prove financial harm to receive this payment, and you also don&rsquo;t give up any of your legal rights if you sign up for this or accept it. So if you have an ongoing lawsuit against the servicer or if you plan on bringing a lawsuit against the bank, you can still do that and collect this money,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Eligible borrowers can file a claim <a href="http://nationalmortgagesettlement.com" target="_blank">online</a> by tonight.</p><p>For help, contact the settlement administrator at 1-866-430-8358 or send questions by email to administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com.</p><p>Payments are expected to be delivered by mail in mid-2013.</p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 14:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/friday-deadline-homeowners-file-claim-national-settlement-105028 Foreclosure rate up in Illinois during 2012 http://www.wbez.org/news/foreclosure-rate-illinois-during-2012-104975 <p><p>There were fewer foreclosures in the US in 2012 compared to the previous year. But Illinois was one of 25 states where the rate increased.</p><p>The latest report from RealtyTrac shows Illinois&rsquo; foreclosure activity increased by 33 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year. In fact, the state is in the top 5 for having the nation&rsquo;s highest foreclosure rates. Florida tops the list. Over 3 percent of homes received a foreclosure filing during the year.</p><p>But Neeti Arndt with realty company Dreamtown says it&rsquo;s been a busy January so far in Chicago. She thinks the worst is over.</p><p>&quot;All neighborhoods are seeing a lot less inventory, and I think that&rsquo;s due to a really strong buyer demand. And the interest rates are really driving this as well as we&rsquo;ve seen a slight uptick in the last month with interest rates. That&rsquo;s causing buyers to really get out there and understand this is the time to take advantage of the market,&quot; she said.</p><p>Arndt thinks homes prices could stabilize in Chicago by this year.</p><p>Meanwhile, foreclosure activity for half of the country dropped last year. RealtyTrac reports a lower foreclosure inventory for those states helped median sales prices to increase for 2012.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/foreclosure-rate-illinois-during-2012-104975 Vacant homes policy brings Chicago big cash http://www.wbez.org/news/vacant-homes-policy-brings-chicago-big-cash-98763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Yousef2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An initial review suggests that Chicago’s revised vacant property ordinance is bringing in a lot cash to the city, and that it’s helping city officials keep better count of the number of homes sitting vacant. The statistics, contained in a letter from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) were the city’s first quarterly report on the effectiveness of the ordinance since it went into effect in November.</p><p>The numbers show that Chicago collected $619,000 in fines from financial institutions during the first quarter of 2012. That’s more than double what the city collected in the same period last year. The number of vacant homes that are officially registered with the Department of Buildings also swelled. Last year 2,833 vacant properties were registered between November and April. Emanuel’s letter stated: “In the past six months, with the new ordinance, the number of vacant properties that became registered with the City nearly doubled to 4,436.”</p><p>“I think the ordinance did what it was supposed to do,” said Dowell, “which was to make the banks and other financial institutions responsible for the properties that they’re responsible for in our neighborhoods.”</p><p>Dowell spearheaded the effort at City Hall to make lenders responsible for the costs of securing and maintaining vacant homes when their owners disappear. The changes invited a federal lawsuit that the City is now fighting, filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on behalf of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.</p><p>“Holding financial institutions accountable will ultimately lead to safer and stronger communities throughout the City of Chicago,” wrote Emanuel.</p><p>Under the revised ordinance, lenders are required to pay $500 to register vacant properties with the city’s Department of Buildings when their owners fail to, and to pay between $500 and $1000 per day for violations of the city code.</p><p>Still, the preliminary analysis shows that the ordinance may need more time before Chicago has a full grasp of the size of the vacant property problem caused by the foreclosure crisis. A <a href="about:blank">study last year </a>by the Woodstock Institute estimated more than 18,000 Chicago homes are vacant.</p></p> Thu, 03 May 2012 12:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/vacant-homes-policy-brings-chicago-big-cash-98763 Activists say fatal fire could have been averted http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-26/P1000957.JPG_.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Last Monday, I visited 2414 N. Marmora with people concerned about vacant buildings. The yard was piled with garbage and it reeked of urine.</p><p>Vanessa Valentin of the Northwest Side Housing Center discovered squatters had pried the boards off the door.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-26/garbage on Marmora smaller.jpg" style="margin-left: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: right; width: 280px; height: 499px;" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)">"It’s easy," Valentin said. "They take it off and they have access to come in and out."<br> Valentin says she called the city’s 311 hotline that day – her third call since last summer complaining that the house was unsafe.</p><div><p>Four days later, it went up in flames.</p><div><p>"You know, my first reaction was I cried because two people lost their lives, two firemen got hurt," Valentin said. "It's very frustrating. This could have been prevented if they would have gone out on Monday when reported and secured it."<br> <br> Chicago Department of Buildings spokeswoman Caroline Weisser says the city twice boarded up the building, most recently last May, and was working on getting it demolished.</p><p>"The Department of Buildings works aggressively to use the tools at its disposal to ensure vacant properties are maintained and secured," Weisser said in a statement.</p><p>LaSalle Bank, now Bank of America, filed foreclosure in 2007, but Bank of America says JP Morgan Chase is the one in charge.</p><p>(UPDATE on 3/29/12): A Chase spokeswoman provided documents from the foreclosure auction in 2008 showing that Joseph Varan purchased the house for $180,000. But the web site of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has no record of Varan holding the deed to the property, nor of an auction having been completed.</p><p>“The City is undertaking an investigation into the ownership because the title on file with the Recorder of Deeds has been drawn into question," Weisser of the Department of Buildings said in a statement.</p><p>Varan couldn't be reached for comment on why the property had not been maintained and why he hadn't filed the deed with the county.</p></div></div></p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/activists-say-fatal-fire-could-have-been-averted-97641 Demolishing foreclosed homes: Does it make sense? http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-26/demolishing-foreclosed-homes-does-it-make-sense-97615 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-26/4949365018_1cd0dda610_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-26/4949365018_1cd0dda610_z.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 450px;" title="A building in Garfield Park in 2010. Would it have been better off demolished? (Flickr/Jeff Zoline)"></p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to this conversation</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333162143-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/120326 demolishing vacant properties.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Is demolition a solution to the housing crisis in some of the Chicago area's most depressed communities?</p><p>Nowadays, many foreclosed homes end up in states of disrepair. Left vacant, they’re stripped of all valuable materials. Instead of attracting potential buyers, these homes often attract crime and end up sinking property values. That’s why some communities are tearing them down.</p><p>Former City of Chicago buildings commissioner Richard Monocchio estimates that between 6,000-9,000 homes should come down in Chicago alone. We'll talk with Monocchio and Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez Monday on&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>&nbsp;to learn about their expereinces using demolition as a tool to rebuild communities hit hardest by foreclosures.</p></p> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-26/demolishing-foreclosed-homes-does-it-make-sense-97615 U.S. Government seals $25 billion mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/021012 seg a3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Thursday, federal and state prosecutors reached a $25 billion settlement with banks over foreclosures.&nbsp; So, what now? That's the question on many current and former homeowners' minds.</p><p>Ed Jacob, the executive director of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), sussed out the details and answered callers questions.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 14:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-10/us-government-seals-25-billion-mortgage-settlement-96249 Illinois to get about $1 billion in national mortgage settlement http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-get-about-1b-national-mortgage-settlement-96262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosed house_Ashley Gross.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosed house_Ashley Gross.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 354px;" title="(WBEZ/Ashley Gross)"></p><p>The $25 billion mortgage settlement with big banks means about 1$ billion in relief to Illinois homeowners.</p><p>People who owe more than their homes are worth and have fallen behind on payments may qualify for loan reductions, while other people who are underwater but current on their loans may be able to refinance. And people who lost their homes to foreclosure may be able to get cash payments.</p><p>Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan helped negotiate the deal and spoke at a Washington, D.C., press conference announcing it.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-10/foreclosures_ashley gross.jpg" style="width: 281px; height: 500px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="The view inside a vacant, ransacked building in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Ashley Gross)">"Today’s settlement should serve as a warning to financial institutions - there are consequences for engaging in practices that jeopardize the stability of our communities and our economy," Madigan said.</p><p>But whether this deal means a major boost for the housing market is still a question.</p><p>Amir Sufi is a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.</p><p>"It’s marginally going to have a positive impact," Sufi said. "I just don’t think it’s going to attack the really huge problem in a really major way."</p><p>That really huge problem, Sufi says, is the large number of homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth. The housing data firm CoreLogic says the total amount of negative equity in the U.S. as of last fall was $700 billion.</p><p>Illinois homeowners who are underwater on their loans say they’re hopeful the new mortgage settlement will help them. But many also say they’re beaten down after years of battling with banks.</p><p>Aimee Gendusa-English owns a home near Midway airport that’s now worth at least $50,000 less than she owes on the mortgage. She says she’s been trying to refinance her loan under a federal program for underwater borrowers. But she says her servicer keeps misunderstanding and bungling her request.</p><p>"I’m really glad to hear that anyone is going after the banks for any aspect of the wrongdoing that they engaged in," Gendusa-English said. "But as a consumer, it fills me with frustration because I feel like all these agencies are doing stuff but none of it helps me. I’m always the one who slips through the cracks."</p><p>Gendusa-English may not even qualify to refinance under the new agreement because she says her loan is held by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae refinancings are covered under a separate federal program.</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 04:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-get-about-1b-national-mortgage-settlement-96262