"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's Hero

Meet Thomas J. Dart. He's the sheriff of Cook County (Chicago) and he has stopped doing evictions of folks from distressed rental properties. Low-income families were being evicted daily by the sheriff's office because the landlords had defaulted on their mortgages and the banks repossessed the building and issued eviction notices.
Sheriff Dart said he took the measure because an increasing number of the residents being evicted were renters who might have been dutifully paying their rent, and might have had no knowledge that the owner was behind on the mortgage.
He looked at the situation and said "This is wrong." And he took action.

On a recent case, deputies were called to evict residents at a foreclosed building on North Spaulding Avenue, and arrived to find six families who were all paying rent to the landlord.

“All the time we paid every month, he never said nothing,” said Alma Aquino, who lived in one unit with her husband, their two children, and Mrs. Aquino’s mother and sister, for a rent of $850. “My husband tried to explain, but the sheriffs said we can’t talk, we need to evacuate.”

The family ended up staying, and Sheriff Dart, who has supported legislation to protect residents in foreclosures, soon stopped evictions.

Well done, sir. Well done.

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