On December 3rd, the Kane County Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program held a training seminar for program mediators and members of the bar. The event was sponsored by Northern Illinois University College of Law and the Illinois Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court. Judge Downs opened the training by welcoming attendees and providing her perspective on how the foreclosure crisis has affected the community and the court. She then shared the impact the Foreclosure Mediation Program has had since it launched almost a year ago. Housing counselors, legal aid and lender attorneys also spoke, describing their roles in the program and the experience of the clients they serve. Professor Alan Boudreau from NIU College of Law was the final speaker and provided the perspective of the Mediation Program. Professor Boudreau explained how the program’s service providers interact and how the role of the mediator fits into the larger foreclosure picture. All of the presenters remained on-hand for a panel discussion.
RSI launched its first foreclosure mediation program a little over a year ago, and we are currently operating three programs that serve four counties in Illinois. Under the grant from the Illinois Attorney General that makes these mediation programs possible, RSI was also tasked with training mediators for foreclosure mediation incubation programs across the state. So far, we have provided trainings for a total of five new programs.
Even after these initial trainings, we have found it critical for the quality of our programs that mediator education and engagement continues. Mediation program coordinators host mediator roundtable discussions where they can provide program updates, answer questions and facilitate the exchange of ideas between mediators. We have found that mediators really value this support and the chance for feedback and interaction. Now that the programs have been running for about a year, it is a good time to refresh skills and assess the progress of each of our programs. The training seminar in Kane County did just that and the response from the mediators has been very positive. We look forward to working with stakeholders to plan similar events for our other foreclosure mediation programs.