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Agency coordinates state programs vs. foreclosures

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Mary R. Kenney wants to connect with 30,000 people in Illinois in the next year.

Kenney, the executive director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, administers an array of programs to help people threatened by foreclosure. The programs are in place, and now it is time to reach out to people affected by the foreclosure crisis, she says.

Mary Kenney-72.jpg
Mary R. Kenney (Brian Jackson~Sun-Times)

"The next year is going to be really critical for us," says Kenney, who will complete her first year as head of the agency on Wednesday (she was general counsel for a decade before that). "We are going to see a lot of people go through the system. It is going to be a rough year."

The state has helped 1,700 families since September, and at one point was receiving 10,000 applications a week.

Last year, there were 100,000 foreclosures filed in Illinois. The IHDA is trying to reach those families and others with a new public-awareness program. The first event is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Morton West High School, 2400 Home Avenue, Berwyn

According to IHDA, Chicago has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Only Las Vegas is higher.

Other IHDA facts:

-One in 51 homes in Chicago received a foreclosure filing last year, eighth most in the country.

-On average, homes on the same block as a foreclosed property can drop $8,000 to $10,000 in value. That could mean $159,000 of lost value on one block.

-As of December, there were 96,996 properties bank-owned or in some stage of foreclosure in the Chicago area.

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