09/15/2011 02:06 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

Illinois Foreclosure Activity Jumps In August, Federal Aid Program May Offer Some Relief

The number of mortgage default notices issued in Illinois in August increased drastically -- 25 percent -- statewide over the previous month, the highest number of notices filed against Illinois homeowners since March.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois numbers reflect a national trend, as foreclosure notices also reached a nine-month high nationwide, according to a new report filed by RealtyTrac. And though the numbers -- 78,880 households nationwide -- sound high, they still mark a large drop (18 percent) from August 2010 numbers. Default notices nationwide also are 44 percent lower than they were in April 2009.

Specifically in the Chicago area, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that foreclosure filings in August increased 19.5 percent, down 28.2 percent from August 2010 numbers.

RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio said the increase in filings is likely due to lenders processing documents more quickly after being initially delayed by a number of documentation problems, including robo-signing. He added that the numbers foreshadow "more bank repossessions in the coming months as these new foreclosures make their way through the process.”

But there may be some relief for some Illinois homeowners in the near future, as the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced the launch of the state's Hardest Hit program Wednesday.

The program, funded by $345 million in federal dollars, will offer up to $25,000 in mortgage help to those who qualify for it -- those who are unemployed or underemployed, or faced an income interruption "through no fault of their own," as NBC Chicago reports.

Photo by BasicGov via Flickr.