In the last two years, the six programs currently funded by the Office of the Illinois Attorney General have helped 476 homeowners save their homes. Almost 100 more relinquished their homes voluntarily, allowing them to make a fresh start. Combined, this means that the programs helped about 1/3 of participating homeowners – and their communities – to avoid the negative consequences of foreclosure.
The latest statistical report shows that while the number of foreclosures filed declined in 2015 for the two largest programs – the 16th and 19th Circuits – the participation rate increased. This is particularly so in the 19th Circuit, where the participation rate increased 32% from 2014. This rise is primarily due to the judges ordering cases to mediation.
The 6th and 21st Circuits, which have a one-step entry process, continue to have a much higher rate of participation than the multi-step entry programs. However, their rates of participation have declined. In the 6th Circuit, which started in October 2014, the participation rate dropped from 52% in the program’s first six months to 41% in the second six months. The 21st Circuit’s participation rate dropped from 68% in 2014 to 59% in 2015. In the multi-step entry programs, participation ranged from 10% to 25% in 2015.
In all four multi-step programs, participation rates and program completion rates were higher for those cases ordered into the program than for those in which the homeowner voluntarily contacted the program. In two of those programs, ordered cases were also slightly more likely to end with a home retention agreement.
New program to start
In other foreclosure mediation news, the 1st Circuit will be joining the ranks of Attorney General-funded programs on April 1. Like the 6th and 21st Circuits, it will be a one-step entry program. In each of the circuit’s nine counties, the homeowners who receive a summons will also receive a date and time for them to attend an intake conference. As with all the Attorney General-funded programs, RSI will be providing the mediator training as well as monitoring and evaluation services for the program.