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King Harris’ Remarks

First, I want to comment the Attorney General for proactively using part of Illinois’ mortgage settlement funding to directly address our region’s foreclosure crisis. Across the country, some Attorney Generals did this. Others used their settlement funding to meet general state spending needs.

Second, I want to say that the Attorney General’s approach to allocating the funding was very responsible, balanced in terms of use and geographical placement, and non-duplicative in terms of other governmental and not-for-profit funding in the foreclosure area.

The advisory council that the Attorney General has assembled is made up of some of the most knowledgeable people in the state when it comes to foreclosure issues. Their collective knowledge has been very helpful in evaluating over 130 proposals for funding. Their knowledge has also gone a long way in assuring that these new grants will not duplicate grants being given out by other organizations.

As we evaluated all the thoughtful proposals we received, our key objective was to supplement and build on the good work already underway to alleviate our foreclosure crisis. We wanted proposals which would in the very near term impact our current crisis. We also wanted proposals which would alleviate the long-term ripple effects of the current foreclosure crisis.

We wanted to invest in programs that would meet three or four of the primary goals of the state’s comprehensive housing plan, among them:

  • Revitalizaing neighborhoods impacted by foreclosure
  • Directly helping families impacted by foreclosure
  • Increasing agency collaboration statewide in efforts to address foreclosures

I should note that several of us on the advisory council have served for many years on the state’s affordable housing task force.

Finally, we wanted to be sure that the $70 million being disbursed would be spent wisely and monitored carefully. Our process was very thorough, with each proposal reviewed in depth by both staff and advisors, according to the evaluation criteria. I want to commend the Attorney General, her team, and members of our advisory council for the effort and dedication that they have put into this work.