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SHERIFF DART HONORED FOR FORECLOSURE STAND

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Monday, December 08, 2008 —Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart will be honored today with the Paul Simon Public Service Award, recognizing his decision to suspend mortgage foreclosure evictions earlier this year.
            Each year, the Illinois Hunger Coalition recognizes one state legislator and one Illinois citizen for efforts that exemplify the spirit by which the late Sen. Simon led his life. Recognizing standards of courage, integrity and dedication to public service, the group looks to honor those who have improved people’s lives through that public service.
            Dart will be recognized during the Illinois Hunger Coalition’s annual luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. today at the University Club, 76 E. Monroe St.
            Dart suspended all mortgage foreclosure evictions in October, leading to new safeguards added to the eviction process, protecting both tenants of a building and taxpayers. Many renters were unaware their building was in foreclosure until sheriff’s deputies arrived to evict them. The new protections require banks to provide sworn notice that all tenants have been notified before asking the sheriff to conduct a foreclosure eviction.
            Since that agreement was reached, however, Dart has been asked to conduct 147 foreclosure evictions. He has agreed to evict only 8, because the new protections weren’t followed.
            Foreclosures in Cook County have skyrocketed since 2006 – climbing from 18,000 filed in 2006 to 43,000 filed this year. The sheriff has been asked to evict 4,500 families in foreclosure, up from just 1,700 in 2006.

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