Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed two pieces of legislation into law that Housing Action Illinois advocated for during the 2016 General Assembly session.

Senate Bill 2271, signed into law on July 15, extends the Comprehensive Housing Planning Act through December 31, 2026. The Act requires the State of Illinois, led by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), to produce an annual statewide housing plan with specific components, including coordination of state spending to better address affordable housing goals and prioritize resources for people with the lowest incomes. Changes to the Act in this bill include adding additional priority populations, including people with criminal records and veterans. We worked with the  Metropolitan Planning Council to pass this bill, and our chief sponsors were Senator Iris Martinez and Representative Will Guzzardi.

The Annual Comprehensive Housing Plan is important because it:

  • Prioritizes resources of the State of Illinois for people with the most significant housing needs.
  • Encourages transparency and coordination between IHDA and other State agencies.
  • Provides framework for addressing unique challenges as they arise, such as revitalizing communities in the wake of the foreclosure crisis and reforming the long-term care system to provide more community-based housing options via permanent supportive housing.

House Bill 4595, signed into law on July 28, extends the sunset date of a provision in Illinois’ mortgage foreclosure law allowing judges to set aside a judicial sale when, upon the appeal of the homeowner, the judge finds that a lender has violated the federal Making Home Affordable (MHA) program. We worked with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law to pass this bill, and our chief sponsors were Representative Al Riley and Senator Jacqueline Collins.

Created in 2009, MHA has helped homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing a variety of solutions to modify or refinance their mortgages, get temporary forbearance if they are unemployed, or transition out of homeownership via a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Under federal law, loan servicer participation in MHA is mandatory or voluntary depending on various circumstances. MHA has been extended twice and will now sunset on December 31, 2016.

While lender compliance with MHA is generally high, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has found certain patterns of noncompliance, including errors and/or lack of documentation when finding homeowners ineligible for loan modifications. When that happens, homeowners use this provision of Illinois law to ensure improper foreclosure sales are not completed.