June 26, 2009
The American Bar Association commends the
recent developments designed to assist hard-hit neighborhoods and families in
the foreclosure crisis. The 2009 Homeowner Protection Act (SB-2513) and the new
statewide Mortgage Relief Project will assist homeowners who are at risk of
losing their homes in battered south side communities.

– H. Thomas Wells,
Jr., Chicago
American Bar Association, President

The effects of
foreclosure have been devastating for individuals, neighborhood blocks and whole
communities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in minority communities,
particularly among African Americans and Hispanics. A 2009 Woodstock Institute
study concluded that, "African American and Latino borrowers and communities
have long been subject to disproportionately high shares of subprime lending
when compared to white borrowers and communities."

The legal profession
through local bars and legal aid clinics has been working steadily to assist
homeowners at risk through these tough economic times. The ABA Web site at www.FindLegalHelp.org,
helps those who wish to set up an initial consultation to locate lawyer referral
programs, including sources of free legal help. In addition, the Chicago Bar
Association provides a wealth of information in their Mortgage Foreclosure:
"What to Do When It Happens and Where to Get Help" brochure. Illinois Legal Aid
Online also provides a portal to information, including the Illinois Mortgage
Foreclosure Law in layman’s terms and links to find legal help.

We are
encouraged that the state has put legislation and a solid education/remediation
program into place. Lawyers in Illinois and throughout the country stand ready
to assist people in all neighborhoods retain their homes and withstand this
assault on their financial security.


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