Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Tuesday that she will
dole out $70 million to several Illinois communities hindered by the
nation’s ongoing foreclosure crisis.
The funds, made available by a $25 billion national settlement with five mortgage lenders
accused of illegal foreclosure practices, will be distributed among 54
non-profit agencies across the state. The agencies all demonstrate a
commitment to undoing the damage caused by the foreclosure crisis and
submitted applications for a portion of the money in February.
banks are held responsible for a lot of the destruction that they
caused throughout Illinois and our country," Madigan told the Chicago Tribune. "It's appropriate that that money is coming from the banks.”
Cook County Land Bank Authority, an agency charged with acquiring and redeveloping
vacant and abandoned properties, is slated to receive $6 million, the biggest share of
Illinois’ settlement funds.
"I'm thrilled with that amount,” Cook County Commissioner
Bridget Gainer (D-Chicago), chair of the Land Bank Authority, told the
newspaper. “It's a big difference if someone has a $6 million budget.
There was no point in recruiting (a director) until we knew what this
The countywide land bank originally asked for $15 million over five years.
At the end of 2012, more than 69,000 properties in the Chicago six–county region had been vacant for more than two years, according to a June Woodstock Institute report.
2008, which marks the start of the nation’s foreclosure crisis, almost
339,000 foreclosures have been filed in McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage,
Will and Cook Counties, the non-profit research and policy organization
The Land Bank Authority was one of 136 organizations to submit an application for a portion of the $70 million.
Other organizations scheduled to receive funds include IFF, formerly the Illinois Facilities Fund, and groups associated with Habitat for Humanity.
The five banks, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Ally Bank, settled in 2012
with the federal government and state attorneys general over
accusations of mortgage servicing abuses, such as accelerating
foreclosure proceedings by “robo-signing” documents.
"The banks will never be able to do enough to clean up the mess they caused in our country,” Madigan told the newspaper.