Homeowners Helped through Hardest Hit Fund
Defending a foreclosure is especially difficult for the elderly and disabled. There are programs meant to help, but homeowners often can’t navigate the programs’ complexities. For example, the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) is a large grant overseen by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to help homeowners who hit a rough patch catch up on their mortgages. Although the HHF Program offered help to homeowners Patricia, Angelique, and Rheda, each faced physical and legal challenges that prevented them from accessing funds: Patricia is elderly and wheelchair-bound. She fell behind on a loan modification after her renter stopped paying and moved out. Because the lender never countersigned her modification, there was an inaccurate reinstatement figure that IHDA could not accept. Angelique lost her job after a freak medical emergency left her disabled. The stretch between her last paycheck and her benefits caused a mortgage default. Although she had applied for HHF, processing delays caused the reinstatement figure to crest above program limits. Rheda has dementia and is mentally incompetent. Her daughter has power of attorney and applied for HHF, but a looming foreclosure sale was going to cut short the review period. They all needed an attorney. Thankfully, foreclosure judges referred these women to CVLS through the Access to Justice (A2J) Program. CVLS fended off foreclosure and worked closely with IHDA and housing counselors to get the each HHF application reviewed. It worked. The result--IHDA dispersed over $100,000 to reinstate the delinquent mortgages, saving all three women’s homes. CVLS extends our special thanks to Peter Sellke and Leslie Cain of IHDA for their help.