“The initiative is part of a new Cook County Circuit Court call that intends to move confirmed abandoned properties through the foreclosure process and stabilize neighborhoods affected by blight. BofA began a similar program in Detroit, helping to identify 100 vacant properties for demolition. The bank will contribute to the cost of the operations.”

Abandoned, foreclosed properties can have a profoundly negative impact on the surrounding communities, such as lowering property values, attracting criminal activity, and causing blight. A report we released in January found that abandoned properties are highly concentrated in communities of color and could potentially cost the City of Chicago $36 million for the legal process, security, or demolition.

As part of a follow-up to the report, we hosted a symposium in March of lenders,community groups, government officials, advocates, and other stakeholders to think of ways to empower communities to reduce the impact of abandoned foreclosed homes. Some of the recommendations that arose from the event included accelerating the foreclosure process for confirmed abandoned homes to decrease the amount of time a home has to deteriorate and donating properties to nonprofit stewards. We are pleased that one of the largest servicers in the region is moving forward with some of the recommendations that came out of this community forum and encourage other servicers to proactively address the abandoned foreclosed homes on their books.