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Officials seek to increase participation in county foreclosure mediation program

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 6:42 p.m. CST

GENEVA – Although still in its infancy, Kane County's new foreclosure mediation program already is helping homeowners, program officials told the Kane County Board's Committee of the Whole on Tuesday.

"We let them know that we're here for them," said Faviola Guzman, a foreclosure mediation paralegal.

The Kane County Board approved the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program in August 2013 at the request of Chief Judge Judith Brawka. She had urged the board for months to approve the program, arguing that such a program would alleviate the problems resulting from the flood of home mortgage foreclosures that have plagued Kane County for years.

Since it launched Jan. 1, the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program has helped expedite proceedings and resolve cases quicker, Brawka said.

After an initial conference and pre-screening phase, participants begin mediation – a stage that involves the homeowner, bank representative, bank attorney, program coordinator Kevin Malone said. The goal is to end with an agreement, he said.

To date, Malone said, of the 300 cases filed this year, 45 – or about 15 percent – are in mediation.

"We need to do more, obviously," Malone said. "Spread the word far and wide."

County Board members encouraged Brawka and her team to better publicize the program.

"It's going to be a win-win for everybody," said Barb Wojnicki, R-Campton Hills.

The program is hosting an open house from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St., Room 432, Geneva. Brawka said local governmental agencies and other groups were invited so they could help promote the program among those they serve.

Program partners include Neighborhood Housing Services of the Fox Valley, Prairie State Legal Services, Plaintiff Council and the Kane County Bar Association.

Visit www.illinois16thjudicialcircuit.org/foreclosuremediation.aspx for information about the foreclosure mediation program.

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