Foreclosure Destroys House First, Neighborhood Second

The foreclosed two-flat at 4336 West Wilcox is one of the 400 to 500 vacant homes Jonathan Martin inspects each month. "It gets worse and worse every time I come out here," Martin told the Chicago News Cooperative in a story published on October 28, 2011. "This is crazy."

Martin has visited the property regularly for the past 10 months, and according to the Cooperative, in that time "squatters have moved in, mold has grown and thieves have stripped nearly all of the copper piping and plumbing." Martin told the Cooperative that there was no damage to the walls when he made his first inspection in January, but the damage increased "exponentially" during the summer months. It got even worse one day in late October when Martin found that radiators had been ripped from baseboards and nearly every pipe taken away, as well as heaps of plaster left on the floor and toilets in the kitchen.

The Cooperative said there are 28 vacant buildings on West Wilcox, which is less than a mile long. Foreclosures account for a majority of the nearly 15,000 abandoned buildings in Chicago as of October 20. Thomas Burton, who bought the house across the street in 1962 and paid off the 30-year mortgage, told the Cooperative he has called the police repeatedly about the drug use and other criminal activities at empty buildings on his block. He also said he would rather help to fix up the house across the street than tear it down.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage and looking for foreclosure help, it is important to keep in mind that your neighbors probably do not want to see you lose your home either. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers understand the fear many homeowners experience when facing foreclosure. However, it is important for you to understand the benefits your family can receive by filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Not only could you eliminate your unsecured debt such as credit cards, but filing a bankruptcy means test could also help determine a way to keep your property. If you have additional questions about the bankruptcy process, contact our office today to receive a free consultation and see how our firm can help.

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