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Chicago Mayor launches $20 million foreclosure recovery program

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $20 million foreclosure recovery initiative Wednesday that will utilize not-for-profit and private resources to fight foreclosures in nine Windy City neighborhoods. The John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation plans to donate $15 million to $20 million through loan programs to help fund what is known as the Innovative Micro-Market Recovery Program. Those dollars will eventually be combined with private capital to reach the program's stated goal of raising up to $50 million to fund the initiative's goal of restoring and reoccupying as many vacant properties as possible. The program will launch in several Chicago neighborhoods, including Humboldt Park, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, West Woodland, Auburn Gresham, West Pullman, Belmont Cragin, Englewood and Grand Boulevard. Emanuel said in a press release the MacArthur Foundation will work with the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development to design loans that address the needs of each neighborhood. Strategic plans for the effort will be released in September. The foreclosure relief effort comes on the heels of another City of Chicago housing initiative – City Hall's passage of a law that expands the definition of property owner to require lenders to cover vacant property expenses. The new law has been generating a buzz from analysts who question its constitutionality, and others who believe it could make RMBS securitizations less appealing when loans are tied to areas with this type of law is in place. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.

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