by Susan O’Neill
The number of foreclosed homes requiring Kane County Sheriff’s Department intervention has increased dramatically in the last couple of years. There were three times as many homes up for auction in 2008 than in 2006.
â€œWe never slow down,â€ Kane County’s civil division Lt. Tom Baumgartner said.
Once the house is sold at auction, the Sheriff’s Department notifies the current resident of the pending eviction, typically scheduled for 30 days after the closing.
â€œIt’s a heart-breaking thing to do,â€ Baumgartner said.
He said that one in five families is home at the time. The Sheriff’s Department will offer the evicted residents a ride to either mass transit, a friend’s house or a homeless shelter.
â€œLast week, we were at a house where the family had two dogs,â€ he said. â€œWe had to call (Kane County) Animal Control and they took the dogs.â€
He said the Sheriffâ€™s Department currently carries out four evictions a day, five days a week.
Kane County Development Department Scott Berger said although the majority of Kane County’s foreclosed homes are located in Aurora, Elgin and Carpentersville, communities across the county are affected.
â€œNot a single community is exempt,â€ Berger said. â€œThe numbers are up throughout the county.â€
Sugar Grove currently has 76 vacant and/or foreclosed homes, up from an average of 60 to 65 from last year. Sugar Grove Finance Director Justin VanVooren said the village obtains weekly reports from Kane County.
According to VanVooren, the village uses the information to alert police to ensure the security and maintenance of the properties, and to determine where to send the owner’s utility bills.
Sugar Grove police investigator John Sizer said that checking in on these properties currently takes up a significant amount of police time. However, he said it is important to ensure that the property is not damaged and that individuals who do not belong there do not gain access to the home.
VanVooren said the homeowner is still responsible for the property until the foreclosure process is completed and the sale is certified. However, to ensure that a vacant property does not have a negative impact on the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, the village will hire someone to mow the yard, if it becomes necessary.
Homes entering foreclosure in first quarter 2009 (January-March)
Maple Park 3
Sugar Grove 24
Kane County 1,256
Kane County properties in Sheriffâ€™s auctions
1st quarter 2009* 1,073
*First quarter fiscal year 2009 (Dec. 1, 2008-Feb. 28, 2009)