LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project (TFIP) team has been working tirelessly to inform renters throughout Illinois about their rights and responsibilities when they find themselves living a foreclosed building. Renters who live in rural areas of Illinois are often unfamiliar with the court system and the foreclosure process and LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline may be the only legal resource available to them. LCBH is committed is to providing resources to those hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis throughout the state.
This summer LCBH expanded its travels to new areas in Will County and Western Cook County Suburbs. In June, LCBH staff attorney Aileen Flanagan met with Judges O’Leary, Thanos and Barrett of the 12th Judicial Circuit in Will County, who all agreed that LCBH’s foreclosure helpline and brochures will provide a welcomed resource for tenants in Will County who are in danger of losing their housing. Since meeting with the judges and other stakeholders in Willl County, the LCBH helpline has received an increase in calls from these communities. The resources are proving to be helpful to the residents of Will County.
Along the way, Aileen went to the 4th and 5th Cook County Suburban Municipal Court Districts and met with Presiding Judge Raymond Jagielski of the 5th District in Bridgeview, and eviction court Judge Feerick. Both agreed to distribute the brochures. Furthermore, residents from Hillcrest, Bridgeview and Summit have contacted the helpline since we visited. It is gratifying to see that our resources are reaching the renters who need this help!
In other meetings, a number of elected officials and community organizations agreed that these resources would be beneficial for renters in their communities. Information about our foreclosure assistance was published in a recent edition of the Schillergram, a newsletter sent to the residents of Schiller Park. We included a short note advising renters that there is a resource available to them if they were impacted by the foreclosure of their rental housing.
Lastly, Aileen’s travels included trips to Waukegan, Park Forest, and Thornton Township to conduct workshops in these communities. In Waukegan we provided education on this topic to a local social service provider network, RESPOND of Lake County. The providers were seeking to enhance the tools they have available to serve their own clients. They now have a trusted referral source to send their clients to when confronted with questions about foreclosure and its impact on renters.
With our continued and sustained outreach; through the distribution of brochures, face to face meetings with stakeholders and return to the communities to provide educational workshops, we are slowly eroding the presumption that “Foreclosure Means Get Out Now! “ LCBH is committed to re-educating the public about the rights of renters and eradicating the notion that once the owner loses possession in foreclosure then the renter must move out. We still have work to do – not everyone knows what their rights are – and injustices still occur but we are making progress!