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Program aims to help mitigate anticipated influx of evictions

The Third Judicial Circuit is recipient of a grant from the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice to help with development of an eviction mediation program.

The program will aim to help mitigate the anticipated surge of evictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout. Once implemented, the Madison County Eviction Mediation Program will aim to resolve eviction cases alleging non-payment of rent.

Jennifer Dunham, the program coordinator, will manage the grant along with Associate Judge Clarence Harrison.

“The pandemic has only exasperated the need for assistance required by self-represented litigants,” Harrison said. “Secure housing has never been a greater challenge. Navigating the court system can be a challenge for anyone, but particularly for those in crisis. Our goal is to bring a variety of assistance within the grasp of self-represented litigants.”

“Mediation provides an opportunity for parties to talk through disputes that may lead to an eviction and come to a resolution that leaves both parties better off. It may also save parties time and expense and afford them an opportunity to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome” said Chief Judge William Mudge.

The program coordinator will work closely with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, local housing and financial housing agencies, the Madison County Self-Help Center/Law Library, and the Madison County Clerk’s Office to provide an efficient and effective program for tenants and landlords in Madison County.

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