Since 2010, IHDA has administered Illinois’ allocation from the U.S. Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund for five foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization programs. In that time, the Illinois Hardest Hit program distributed more than $428 million in federal reinstatement assistance, monthly mortgage payment assistance, and principal reduction assistance to 22,000 families experiencing unemployment or underemployment before available funding was exhausted. The program closed to new applications this year. The state-managed Hardest Hit Program has been a success, helping homeowners in 101 out of Illinois’ 102 counties and dedicating all available program funding before the federally mandated deadline of December 31, 2020.
Although no new Hardest Hit Program applications are being taken, IHDA continues to dedicate resources to connect struggling residents with the financial and educational lifelines they need. In FY2019 IHDA funded a network of counseling agencies that provided critical support and financial education to more than 42,000 families, helping them explore their options to achieve the best possible outcome for their situation. To stabilize communities impacted by vacant properties, IHDA’s blight reduction programs awarded $7,825,489 to help municipalities and community development organizations in 32 counties maintain or demolish 2,016 abandoned properties.
FY2019 also saw the first grantees and successes under the Land Bank Capacity Program and Technical Assistance Network, a new initiative designed to empower local and regional revitalization efforts by increasing planning and land banking capacity outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Though it is still relatively new, the program is helping local governments recognize land banking as a critical tool to efficiently fight blight and regain control of abandoned properties in their jurisdictions. Eight municipalities, counties, land banks and two technical assistance providers were funded this year, with a second round planned for next year. The program has granted funding to facilitate the creation of the new Northern Illinois Land Bank Authority in Winnebago and Boone counties and has funded three completed land bank feasibility studies in central Illinois jurisdictions, with three more currently underway.