January 1, 2009
The rising tide of home foreclosures hit Evanston hard in 2008 as homeowners who’d purchased or refinanced with attractive teaser terms found they couldn’t keep up with their payments.

"People have been refinancing with adjustable-rate mortgages they didn’t fully understand," said Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, in March.

"It was pretty easy to get a second mortgage without people really looking at the situation behind their credit and their credit history."

In March, data from the Woodstock Institute pegged Evanston foreclosure filings at 179 for all of 2007, up 87 percent from 2005.

When figures for the first six months of 2008 were tallied, the 126 foreclosure filings were nearly double the number recorded in the same period in 2007.

The Evanston Foreclosure Task Force conducted a door hanger campaign in the hardest-hit neighborhoods to alert homeowners of the need to seek help when they miss their first payment.

The avalanche of homeowner troubles coincided with a spate of creative financing vehicles, some of which allowed borrowers to pay only interest or to pay less than the interest owed while the loan principal rises.

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