Cook County's “Kinder” Evictions May Be Nation's First

Nearly six months after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart ordered a halt in mortgage foreclosure evictions, the new system he's installed may be unique in the country.

Not only must banks prove people living in homes are the same ones whose names are on eviction papers, but deputies now post eviction notices three times before evicting the tenants on the fourth visit.

He's hired a social worker who helps connect residents with public services and sometimes even helps them find new landlords.

Fred Wilson of the National Sheriff's Association said he doesn't know of another sheriff's office taking such extensive steps, but as the number of mortgage foreclosures skyrocket, they're asked to take part in more evictions. Wilson said he wants to learn more from Dart.

Dart was thrust into the national spotlight last October when he refused to carry out eviction foreclosures of renters who were unaware that their landlords were falling behind on their mortgage payments.

Shortly after Dart's edict, Cook County judges aiming to quell his concern began using a new court document for foreclosure evictions that specifically names tenants living at the foreclosed property and states how long they are allowed to remain in units -- the length of their lease or 120 days, whichever is shorter -- before deputies haul out their belongings.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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