By Kristyn Hartman
February 3, 2009
There’s new hope for Chicago homeowners who are facing foreclosure. CBS
2’s Kristyn Hartman reports free help is available, and the city and
church congregations are working together to get the word out in the
hopes of preventing years like the one that just passed.

According to the Woodstock Institute, Chicago had more than 20,000 foreclosures in 2008, up 48 percent from 2007.

Wonda Evans never thought she’d be behind on her mortgage. She
helped pay for the home she loves with her mom. When her mother passed
away she was left with a ballooning adjustable rate payment she
couldn’t afford.

"I found myself lashing out and crying a lot — just frustrated," Evans said. "I didn’t know how the mortgage would get paid."

A lot of people can relate, and Mayor Richard M. Daley has a message for them: "We want your input immediately — don’t wait."

Don’t wait to get help, he urged, because it is available and it is free. You just need to know where to go.

Enter the interfaith community. On February 15 church leaders will talk to their congregations about the resources out there.

"We can put it in the worship guide. I can talk about it from the
pulpit," said Rev. Dr. Walter Johnson Jr., Pastor of Greater
Institutional A.M.E. Church

He’ll spotlight the city’s upcoming borrower outreach events and
likely tell folks about workshops hosted by Neighborhood Housing
Services of Chicago.

Those can help prevent foreclosures, a process that can run up to 15 months.

"You know the lenders are really cooperative right now,"
Neighborhood Housing Services Counselor Sherry Smith said. "I have
helped people more than 12 months behind to keep their house."

Smith worked with Evans one-on-one after Evans went to a workshop.
They spoke with Evans’s lender and now she has a modified, affordable
loan and she’s keeping her home.

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