The Nation Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty commends Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart for not enforcing eviction orders against renters of foreclosed property-when they had no notice of the foreclosure, no time and no resources to stave off homelessness.
In Cook County, and across the country, renters are often innocent victims when the property they are renting is foreclosed on. And across the country, increasing numbers of Americans losing their homes as a result of foreclosure and falling into homelessness.
- In Denver, a shelter reports that 8% of its clients are homeless due to foreclosure.
- In Reno, the City reports that soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that more people are homeless than ever before.
- In Seattle, and other cities, tent cities are going up as shelters overflow with more people seeking help than they can possibly serve.
Before the crisis hit, conservative estimates of numbers of Americans who were "literally" homeless-living in shelters or other temporary housing or in public places-was 750,000 on a given day, or 2.5 to 3.5 million annually. Adding those living in temporary motel rooms or sleeping on the couches or floors of family and friends, the number rises to some 4.5 million Americans who are unstably housed each year. As the full impact of the foreclosure crisis hits, these numbers will likely rise.
"Sheriff Dart is a human rights hero," said Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. "He is showing true leadership by standing up for what is fair and just. Tenants of foreclosed properties should not be evicted without adequate notice and without a chance to avoid loss of their belongings and homelessness," she added. "Yet that is what is happening around the country. We need a national policy to protect tenants and to prevent them from falling into homelessness."