Read Part Two, an overview of renters’ rights in Chicago, here.
Chicago is often thought of as a city of renters, but homeownership has played a contested and extremely influential role in creating this city. From rampant redlining and blockbusting practices in the twentieth century to the more recent impact of the foreclosure crisis, Chicago has been shaped—quite literally—by fluctuations and manipulations of mortgage rates, property values, and homeownership. The Weekly has compiled a list of organizations and resources that might be helpful for those navigating precarious homeownership situations, or for those seeking more information on the subject.
The Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network, established by former Governor Quinn, spearheads the Mortgage Relief Project and aims to help Illinois homeowners take advantage of programs that keep people in their homes. Free counseling is available. Visit idfpr.com or call (800)532-8785 (toll free).
The Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign is a South Side-based organization committed to stopping all economically motivated evictions in Chicago. Established in 2009 at the height of the foreclosure crisis, the CAEC believes in housing as a human right and works to keep individuals in their homes through direct action and civil disobedience. For more information, visit chicagoantieviction.org.
Illinois Legal Aid provides information and legal assistance for those navigating the ins and outs of homeowner’s insurance, mortgage and foreclosure scams, and other sticky aspects of homeownership. Their website includes a helpful search-by-zip-code feature that essentially refers web visitors to a number of nearby legal aid and assistance organizations. These tools can be found at illinoislegalaid.org.
Circuit Court of Cook County Foreclosure Mediation Program aims to assist Cook County homeowners in crisis situations as early as possible in the foreclosure process. Homeowners who have received a summons to appear in court will necessarily have access to free legal assistance and housing consultation. Visit cookcountyforeclosurehelp.org or call (877)895-2444.
Lawyers Committee for Better Housing helps low- and moderate-income renters in Chicago, including Housing Choice Voucher holders. LCBH provides free legal assistance to renters for a number of serious housing issues including eviction, discrimination, unsafe housing conditions, illegal lockouts, and landlord retaliation. LCBH also offers assistance to those affected by foreclosure. Visit lcbh.org or call (312)784-3507