As many have seen signs of the economic climate improving, the housing crisis continues to keep eroding at the quality of life for many in Chicago. The continued high rate of multi-unit buildings in foreclosure is changing the landscape of Chicago neighborhoods through disinvestment in poor neighborhoods and flipping in emerging neighborhoods. More renters of all income levels are feeling the pinch of escalating rents and the lack of available units. One bright spot in this crisis is that Attorney General Lisa Madigan has worked diligently for years to identify banks that have been violating laws regarding mortgage loans and foreclosure and to bring justice to Illinois residents. The efforts of the Attorney General brought $70 million to Illinois to increase services assisting homeowners and renters with foreclosure related problems.
Here at LCBH, there is rarely just one word that describes the events of an entire year, but the best word to encapsulate 2012 is “transition” as LCBH entered a new chapter in its long and rich history. On June 30th, Executive Director Kathy Clark retired from the agency after 12 years of faithful service and growth. On behalf of the LCBH Board and Staff, we thank her for her leadership and dedication to the growth of the LCBH mission. She will be truly missed but we have been assured she will continue to participate in LCBH activities and most certainly will stay involved in fair housing issues.
In August, LCBH received notice that Attorney General Lisa Madigan was providing a substantial 3 year grant to LCBH to provide legal assistance and education on foreclosure issues to renters in Illinois. We were able to hire three new attorneys, another paralegal, a foreclosure counselor, and a data and website specialist. Wow! While we are busy hiring to get fully staffed and everyone is getting settled in their new roles, we look forward to the next chapter of the agency as we consistently look for ways to bring resources to assist those most vulnerable in our communities attain housing stability.
For 32 years, LCBH has been the legal resource for low and moderate income renters in Chicago and now we are providing foreclosure assistance in many areas of Illinois. We thank you for your support and partnership in helping to provide a voice to those without and improve living conditions that provide stability in our neighborhoods for all of us.