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Durbin Wants To Aid Homeowners In Foreclosure.

Sunday, November 18, 2007
CBS 2 Chicago
by Joanie Lum

CHICAGO (CBS) ― Like much of the country, Illinois has been hit hard with a rash of foreclosures. Now federal assistance may be on the way. CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports on Senator Dick Durbin's proposal to help homeowners.

Beautiful new homes are popping up all over the West Haven neighborhood neat the United Center. But the area is quickly becoming a leader in foreclosures. Boarded up townhouses reduce the value of surrounding homes.

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) says this part of the West Haven neighborhood is especially bad. Within two blocks, there are six houses in foreclosure.

"We've had 133 in the first six months of this year, it's devastating – I hear it all the time," said Fioretti.

Fioretti showed U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) the foreclosed properties on Sunday. Durbin wants to change bankruptcy laws so that families can have a chance to keep their homes -- like two Chicago homeowners who didn't know where to turn when they fell behind on mortgage payments.

"We found our loan have been replaced with another servicer, which led to another servicer and another servicer," said Diantha Garcia.

Homeowner Regina Garrett knows the feeling.

"At that point, I thought me and my kids would be on the street but I was able to better me and my kids and have a place to stay," she said.

They both kept their homes when neighborhood legal assistance services restructured their loans. Durbin's bill would give struggling homeowners even more options.

"This issue goes way beyond the tragedy of families, it's a national problem," Durbin said.

Housing experts say Cook County is hit harder because it had a high rate of subprime loans, which run three percentage points or higher than most loans. Because they are so expensive, they result in a greater rate of foreclosure.

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