Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday that she will dole out $70 million to several Illinois communities hindered by the nation’s ongoing foreclosure crisis.

The funds, made available by a $25 billion national settlement with five mortgage lenders accused of illegal foreclosure practices, will be distributed among 54 non-profit agencies across the state. The agencies all demonstrate a commitment to undoing the damage caused by the foreclosure crisis and submitted applications for a portion of the money in February.

"The banks are held responsible for a lot of the destruction that they caused throughout Illinois and our country," Madigan told the Chicago Tribune. "It's appropriate that that money is coming from the banks.”

The Cook County Land Bank Authority, an agency charged with acquiring and redevelopingvacant and abandoned properties, is slated to receive $6 million, the biggest share of Illinois’ settlement funds.

"I'm thrilled with that amount,” Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-Chicago), chair of the Land Bank Authority, told the newspaper. “It's a big difference if someone has a $6 million budget. There was no point in recruiting (a director) until we knew what this number was."

The countywide land bank originally asked for $15 million over five years.

At the end of 2012, more than 69,000 properties in the Chicago six–county region had been vacant for more than two years, according to a June Woodstock Institute report.


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