Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) is excited to announce the COVID Loan Modification Calculator, a key tool for attorneys and consumer advocates across the United States to help homeowners keep their homes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The calculator will be an essential tool to help legal advocates and homeowners understand borrower eligibility for, and the precise terms of, their loan modification or repayment plans. CVLS partnered with Enova International, a leading financial technology firm, to produce the calculator that will help low-income homeowners resolve their foreclosure cases and save their homes. A team of CVLS lawyers and Enova data scientists worked side by side to translate the relief guidance into this easy to use tool.
Roughly 1 in 5 Cook County residents have missed a housing payment in the past eighteen months because of COVID-19. Cook County courts are preparing for a wave of evictions and foreclosures. CVLS is partnering with the County and the Circuit Court to restart the dormant Foreclosure Mediation Program, which provides a neutral forum for residential borrower-homeowners and their lenders to avoid foreclosure by crafting new mortgage terms or other agreements acceptable to both parties. The mediation program’s goal is to deliver critical services to Cook County homeowners in crisis as early in the foreclosure process as possible. As part of the program, homeowners who have received a summons to appear in court will have access to housing counseling, mediation and legal assistance at no charge.
Roughtly 1 in 5 Cook County residents have missed a housing payment in the past eighteen months because of COVID-19.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, CVLS represented thousands of homeowners in Cook County in a similar program, and expects to do so again as foreclosure filings start up again. “Based on our experience after the previous financial crisis, we knew that it is essential that our volunteer attorneys understand the options available to the homeowner outside of foreclosure. We knew we needed a loan modification calculator that followed agency guidance so that they could quickly and easily determine the homeowner’s options,” explained Margaret Benson, CVLS Executive Director.
The loan modification calculator will help attorneys and homeowners quickly and accurately settle on appropriate loan modification terms, allowing homeowners to settle their foreclosure cases, resume making mortgage payments, and stay in their home.
“Special thanks to the Enova team. The team members contributed hundreds of hours of time and their unique skills to this work and, in so doing, created an incredibly useful and necessary tool that functions well, is user friendly, and looks polished. CVLS is forever grateful for the team’s hard work and the time they dedicated to this project,” said Seth McCormick, the CVLS staff attorney who worked with the Enova team on the project.
A link to the COVID Loan Modification Calculator has been published on the CVLS website soon in order to provide practitioners, volunteers and homeowners easy access to the tool at anytime.