The Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court (Kane County) is excited to announce a new Eviction Mediation Program, set to launch in April. With the eventual lifting of eviction moratoriums, the courts are seeking to mitigate the severe housing and financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic
fallout is having on county residents.
The chief goal of the Eviction Mediation Program is to assist tenants and landlords in avoiding eviction and instead pursue mutually beneficial alternatives. The program strives to help Kane County families avoid homelessness while also assisting landlords to mitigate losses. Tenants who are interested in
finding out more about rental assistance can visit www.ihda.org/about-ihda/illinois-rental-payment-program.
To ensure this program launches in time to meet the tremendous need anticipated, the Court took the initiative and began collaboration with the nonprofit organization Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) to develop and initiate the Eviction Mediation Program. RSI, in conjunction with stakeholders, including
Judge John Dalton presiding judge of the Eviction call, the Court Administration, the Circuit Clerk’s Office, the County Board, the Law Library, Prairie State Legal Services, The Neighbor Project, and Northern Illinois University College of Law have been working together developing resources that will
best meet the needs of those struggling with housing issues resulting from the pandemic.
Several bilingual avenues of assistance will be available, including:
● Financial counseling and guidance in applying for the over $15 million in Federal and State rental assistance funds available to the Kane County community, will be provided by The Neighbor Project, a non-profit organization based in Aurora. The hope is that a majority of cases will be
resolved without the need to go to court, or immediately after the case is filed.
● Prairie State Legal Services will provide legal information to both landlords and tenants through a “Help Desk”, interactive digital resources, and informational videos. Participants will receive access to legal assistance, financial counseling and housing assistance.
● Mediation services will provide a space for landlords and tenants to problem solve through a collaborative process. A third-party neutral will help parties find common ground, reach an agreement that meets both parties’ needs and hopefully avoid eviction.
The work of the Eviction Mediation Program is supported by the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, both of whom recently awarded RSI funding to develop and administer this program.
“Through the initiative for the Kane County courts and the generous support of our funders, county residents will get an opportunity to stabilize their housing and ensure access to relief support”, notes RSI Kane County Mediation Programs Manager Kevin Malone. “No one wants families to lose their housing and landlords have already borne an extraordinary burden in these unprecedented times. This program will help both tenants and landlords meet their needs through creative problem solving and ensuring access to the resources they need.”
As Eviction Judge, Judge John Dalton points out, “This program is a classic win-win. Tenants are helped directly with professional advice that will increase their ability to access the funds government has made available, and landlords have an increased likelihood of swiftly recovering the majority of the money they are owed and avoiding the costs of refurbishing and reletting their property during a down market.”
For more information about the program, please contact Kevin Malone at [email protected] For more information on rental assistance today please visit www.ihda.org/about-ihda/illinois-rental-payment-program.