In Retaliation for a Downtown Protest, Cook County Public Guardians Office Evicts Senior Citizen, Sets Family’s Belongings on the Curb

Neighbors rally outside of Calumet Park home of senior citizen evicted as Cook County Public Guardian employees remove belongings from home

Calumet Park, IL—(ENEWSPF)—August 26, 2014. As employees with the Cook County Public Guardian’s office remove Mildred Willis’ belongings from her Calumet Park home, her neighbors and supporters from across the city are currently rallying to keep the Willis family in their home. These efforts to stop the Willis family’s eviction come one week after they rallied downtown outside the offices of the Public Guardians office, calling for Mildred Willis to be released from the Renaissance nursing home and allowed to return home. 

“I can’t believe they are doing this,” exclaimed Stacy Willis, Mildred Willis’ daughter. “My mother is still in the nursing home. Where am I supposed to put her things? Where are my son and I supposed to go?”

On August 25th, Stacy Willis and other family members rallied outside of the Cook County Public Guardians office to deliver more than three thousand petitions calling on the Public Guardians to halt their efforts to evict the Willis family and to return Mildred Willis to her home. In response to this demonstration, the head of the Public Guardians office, Robert F. Harris offered to meet with Mildred Harris’ family and after meeting, to look into their complaints. 

However, instead of working with the Willis family, the Public Guardians directed the Cook County Sheriff’s office to evict them at gunpoint. While changing the locks on their Calumet Park home, the Public Guardians office promised that Mildred Willis’ belongings would not be set out on the street and that they would have an opportunity to arrange to have their belongings picked up by a moving truck. 

Rather than following through on this agreement, the Public Guardians office began removing all of the Willis family belongings this morning, the day after their eviction. When Mildred’s daughter inquired as to why this would be the case, the Public Guardian’s office informed them that even though they had no way of moving their belongings that “this is the way it was going to be.”

For the Willis family, this doubles the pain of having to deal with being forcibly evicted from their home. Not only is the family in a situation where they had to sleep in a police station because they had no place to go, now they face the prospect of having all of their possessions stolen or ruined by the rain simply because the Cook County Public Guardians office would not allow them to make arrangements to collect their belongings. 

Source: Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign