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US sheriffs don’t want people evicted as foreclosure rates expected to soar in new year

In Ohio, Richard Jones, Butler County Sheriff, has ordered his deputies to ensure that people have shelter or somewhere else to go before enforcing any orders.

He has also written to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland asking for him to halt all evictions during the winter months.

'There has to be some attention drawn to somebody that's going to be thrown out of their house that doesn't have anywhere else to go,' Jones said.

In Illinois Cook County sheriff Tom Dart is also refusing to process eviction orders. He claims people are not given enough notice.

However lawyers think the sheriffs may be on dodgy ground even if they are being benevolent. The position of sheriff is an elected one and critics say these sheriffs might just be trying to grab a feel good headline at a time of year when seasonal cheer is to be applauded.

'A sheriff's job isn't to make the law but to enforce it. If he wants to be a legislator he should run for that office and quit being a sheriff,' said one attorney in the field.

There is more good news with the latest figures from Realty Trac showing that foreclosure filings dropped 7% percent from October to November, the lowest level since June.

This was partly due to recently enacted laws that have extended the foreclosure process in some states, along with more aggressive loan modification programs and self-imposed holiday foreclosure moratoriums introduced by some lenders, according to said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

But the New Year is expected to see a return to soaring foreclosures. 'There are several indications, however, that this lower activity is simply a temporary lull before another foreclosure storm hits in the coming months,' he added.

Delinquencies on loans not yet in the foreclosure process are continuing to increase and more than half of the homeowners who received loan modifications to reduce monthly mortgage payments in the first half of 2008 are already delinquent on their loans again. 'Many of these delinquencies could turn into foreclosures next year,' Saccacio said.

Nevada, Florida, and Arizona continue to have the top state foreclosure rates in November. Nevada foreclosure activity actually decreased nearly 4% from the previous month, but it managed to maintain the nation's No. 1 foreclosure rate, with one in every 76 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, more than six times the national average.