Kane County mediation program has helped over 1,500 households avoid eviction

In the two years since Illinois ended its pandemic-related eviction moratorium in October 2021, an eviction mediation program in Kane County has helped over 1,500 households avoid the traumatic effects of an eviction by the sheriff.

Kane County's 16th Judicial Circuit Court launched the mediation program to reduce the eviction surge triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is free for both tenants and landlords. Chicago-based nonprofit Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) administers the program. It is funded by the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.

Mediation brings together people who have a dispute. A trained, neutral third party guides them through a discussion, with the goal of helping them reach an agreement that settles the dispute. Kane County eviction mediations occur mostly via Zoom.

Eviction mediation can help tenants and landlords to reach agreements on their own terms, spend less time in court, tell their side of the story, and potentially avoid an eviction. Participants in RSI's program can also be connected with rental assistance programs, as well as legal aid and financial counseling.

"With the help of RSI, Kane County was the first in Illinois to launch an eviction mediation program, and we have been overwhelmingly pleased with the outcomes," the 16th Circuit's presiding eviction judge, Judge John Dalton, commented. "The program has been successful in assisting landlords and tenants in reaching mutually beneficial agreements. In fact, typically more than 70% of mediations have ended in an agreement that avoids an eviction. Thanks to this program, the court has been able to run efficiently during an eviction surge."

The Kane County program has handled 1,346 mediations so far, with over 950 of those sessions ending in an agreement that allows a family to avoid an eviction.

Survey responses

RSI regularly surveys Kane County Eviction Mediation Program participants as one way to evaluate the program's effectiveness.

The most recent report on these surveys, released in August, found that most participants have an overall positive experience, with 81% of respondents rating the fairness of the mediator highly and 70% saying they were highly likely to recommend mediation to a friend or colleague.

The report examines responses from participants in the 264 eviction mediations in Kane County from March 1 - June 30, 2023.

In all, 62 participants responded to the survey - 31 tenants, four landlords and 27 attorneys. A full report on the findings is available here.

Several tenants who made comments in the survey appreciated having a voice and feeling respected in the program, including one who said the mediator made them "feel like an actual person and not just some case number."

"It would be an absolute mistake no[t] going through mediation," one tenant said in response to a question about recommending the program to a friend.

Those interested in participating in RSI's Kane County Eviction Mediation Program should contact Program Coordinator Christina Wright at

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