Azam Ahmed and Ofelia Casillas
Chicago Tribune reporters
As the nationwide mortgage crisis puts the squeeze on homeowners, the Cook County sheriff's office is on pace to evict more people than ever from foreclosed homes.
At least it was until Wednesday, when Sheriff Tom Dart announced he wouldn't do it anymore.
Dart cited the growing number of evictions that involve rent-paying tenants who suddenly learn their building is in foreclosure because the landlord neglected to pay the mortgage. By refusing to do any foreclosure-related evictions, the hope is that banks will change their policies.
As it happens, the decision also will spare from eviction those legitimately in foreclosure.
It is the latest, and perhaps most curious, government response to the soaring number of foreclosures. Even as federal bailouts and rescues are under way, the local action provoked a mixture of respect and confusion from housing advocates and banks.
Indeed, some mortgage experts suggested Dart's vow could compound problems by making lenders reluctant to extend credit at a time when loans are already hard to get.
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