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Emanuel Unveils Foreclosure-Fighting Funds

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With the help of $20 million in loans, nine Chicago neighborhoods dealing with a high rate of foreclosures will get special attention.

Nine Chicago neighborhoods ravaged by foreclosures will get special attention for rejuvenation under a $20 million loan program announced Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The "Micro-Market Recovery Program" brings together the resources of the city, the lending community and the non-profit community in dealing with blighted neighborhoods.

"It needs an integrated, comprehensive approach rather than home-by-home because the system is too big and too complicated for that alone," said Emanuel.

Neighborhoods targeted in the initial program include Belmont-Cragin; Chicago Lawn, Chatham, West Woodlawn, Humboldt Park; Grand Boulevard, Auburn-Gresham, Englewood and West Pullman.

Emanuel said he expects the program to bring new homeowners to roughly 2,500 homes through a $20 million loan grant from the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation.

That seed money is expected to eventually leverage $50 million in total capital to help stabilize home values, regenerate market forces and reoccupy foreclosed properties, explained Andrew Mooney, the Commissioner of Chicago's Department of Housing and Economic Development.

It's the second installment in Emanuel's two-pronged approach to dealing with what he called a "foreclosure crisis." The Chicago City Council last month passed legislation that requires banks and other financial institutions to better maintain the foreclosed homes on their books.

Emanuel said roughly 10,500 properties went into foreclosure last year, a 20 percent increase from 2009. About 95 percent of those properties are now vacant, he said.

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