042313br0242CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) heralded the signing last week of legislation that renews judicial protections for homeowners for the next two years. State law requires a judge to set aside a foreclosure sale if the bank disregards an existing loan modification agreement or the homeowner’s request for a modification through a federal foreclosure assistance program. The provision was scheduled to expire tomorrow, but once the federal program was extended, Collins saw the need to maintain state-level protections for the borrowers who take advantage of it.

“I am extremely pleased that Illinois is renewing its commitment to a program that has helped nearly fifty thousand homeowners and their families stay in their homes,” said Collins. “Faced with job loss, medical debt, falling property values or other obstacles, many of our neighbors are still in need of assistance and deserve the protection of the courts as they endeavor to make their payments and keep their homes.”

The Home Affordable Modification Program, part of the federal Making Home Affordable package of foreclosure assistance options, allows homeowners threatened with foreclosure to make mortgage payments that fit within their budgets. Most loan modifications involve a lower interest rate, but more than half extend the repayment term, and almost a third involve principal forbearance. A related program, HAMP-PRA (Principal Reduction Alternative), allows for part of the loan’s principal to be forgiven for some borrowers. The goal is to reduce the monthly payment to 31 percent or less of the homeowner’s gross monthly income.

Under state law, if a financial institution fails to adhere to the rules of the federal program and proceeds with a foreclosure action even though the borrower has requested assistance through HAMP and/or complied with an existing loan modification agreement, the homeowner can ask a judge to invalidate the sale of the home. Collins’ legislation extends the sunset date on that provision to December 31, 2015.

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CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) issued the following statement celebrating the life and work of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013):

I was saddened to hear the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing but grateful for the magnificent presence of this freedom fighter for justice and peace. He was a visionary who inspired a nation and world.

Like many social justice advocates, I became engaged in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s as I became aware of the injustices occurring in South Africa and was moved by Mandela’s servant leadership. When Mandela took his thank-you tour across America, I traveled to Detroit with many other Chicagoans to witness this powerful and prophetic leader. The South Africa divestment movement to oppose apartheid was my template for Illinois’ 2005 Sudan divestment law.

Nelson Mandela was truly a profile in courage, commitment and character. His great moral center, anchored in hope and love, gave him the power not only to stand against injustice but to shower his enemies with forgiveness. His luminous spirit lives on in the men and women throughout the world who continue his work for social justice and peace .

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