In the summer of 2013, RSI received a grant from the Illinois Attorney General to incubate foreclosure mediation programs throughout the state of Illinois. Through the grant, RSI is directly responsible for helping to develop and staff programs in Lake, Kane and Winnebago counties. We have also been tasked with training foreclosure mediators and developing a cloud-based online case management, monitoring and evaluation system for all foreclosure mediation incubation programs throughout Illinois. RSI and our program partners have been busy expanding the reach of foreclosure mediation and we would like to share some exciting progress with you.
Since November, RSI has trained foreclosure mediators in four counties, including Lake, Kane, Winnebago and St. Clair, with plans to train mediators in five more jurisdictions as their programs are established. Experienced mediators receive a two-day training, where they learn foreclosure law and policy from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and then practice and apply what they have learned to the mediation process. In other counties, such as Kane, we are conducting a five-day training for new mediators, designed to provide a solid foundation in mediation process and skills, while also providing NCLC foreclosure training. In addition to lectures, trainees participate in small group exercises and foreclosure mediation simulations, where they receive feedback from experienced foreclosure mediator coaches. RSI believes that well-trained mediators are essential to building effective programs.
RSI Program Updates:
RSI’s Lake County program officially launched on Dec. 2, 2013 and information sessions started in January through Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County, our housing counseling partner. We have just held our first mediation sessions, and are pleased to report the first temporary loan modification agreement reached through the mediation process!
The foreclosure mediation program in Kane County officially launched on Jan. 2, 2014. We are excited to have the support of Northern Illinois University College of Law’s Foreclosure Mediation Clinic. The clinic works with the Kane program to provide representation for homeowners during the foreclosure mediation process and has been a fantastic resource as we get the program up and running. Since the program started, over 75 cases have started working their way through the intake and housing counseling process. Through this assistance, we have helped homeowners to finalize their desired outcome of a short sale of their property. Many other homeowners are working through the modification application process and our first mediation session is scheduled for April, 2014.
In Winnebago County, our housing counseling partners are in the process of developing an online intake system that will enable us to serve homeowners more efficiently. Once the intake system is up and running, we will be able to officially launch the program. We have trained a great group of mediators and are working closely with court personnel to ensure a smooth start to the program.
RSI has made exciting progress with its foreclosure mediation programs, and I look forward to keeping you updated as we continue to serve courts, communities, lenders and homeowners.