Programs and Services
The Attorney of the Day Eviction Defense Program (AOD) utilizes pro bono attorneys to assist staff attorneys in providing high-volume eviction defense for renters. AOD provides free legal representation to vulnerable renters facing eviction with the elderly, disabled and single mothers being priorities for case acceptance. More than 90% of renters facing eviction in the Daley Center do not have legal representation, 95% of those unrepresented renters are evicted in trials lasting on average less than five minutes regardless of whether or not they have a legitimate legal defense. With the assistance of LCBH staff and volunteer attorneys, AOD represented over 300 families in court and achieved positive outcomes for our client families 85% of the time with $837,629.24 in back rent waived and damages awarded in favor of renters in 2012.
Combat sub-standard building conditions.
Many renters face very serious housing problems that are not resolved with the landlord without legal intervention. In the fight against recalcitrant landlords of large multi-unit buildings, the Affordable Housing Preservation Program (AHPP), often in coordination with renter and neighborhood groups, steps in to provide a voice for renters in building court or administrative hearings to assert their right to live in rental housing that is safe, decent and lives up to building codes. In 2012, AHPP worked with renters in 154 rental buildings, improving or preserving 1272 units.
Protect the rights of renters in foreclosure.
The Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project (TFIP) has worked since 2008 to ensure that the laws protecting renters are upheld throughout the foreclosure process. Commonly thought of as a homeowner issue in popular thought and media coverage, TFIP has consistently found that 3000-5000 more rental units are impacted by foreclosure filings than single family homes each year. Renters facing foreclosure are often unaware of their rights or where to turn to for help. LCBH provides legal representation, advocacy, and educational workshops to a variety of stakeholders including attorneys, community advocates, and renters. TFIP works diligently to preserve affordable housing units that are being lost to foreclosure throughout Chicago and is now reaching into the suburbs and other areas of Illinois. TFIP is the only legal aid project in the Chicago area that focuses solely on the issues facing renters living in foreclosed buildings.
Intervene to maintain units and keep them occupied.
LCBH’s Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) is coordinated through the Pro Bono Project and the work is done almost entirely by volunteer attorneys. Volunteer attorneys advocate on behalf of renters where utilities have been illegally shut off; where renters have been locked out of their homes by the landlord; where the landlord has tapped into their utilities so the renter is paying for the utilities in other units and other serious issues. In 2012, TAP provided legal representation to 178 tenants. In addition, another 1682 tenants received brief services or referrals.
Connect renters to lasting solutions to promote housing stability.
The Supportive Services Program enables LCBH to provide a more holistic plan to renters. Available for the most vulnerable client families, Supportive Services works to help clients avoid homelessness and stabilizes housing by performing assessment, providing assistance in locating alternative affordable housing, applying for emergency funding, screening for public benefits, and making connections to other essential services. In 2012, the Supportive Services Department successfully assisted 117 families consisting of 302 individuals - including 120 children.
Ensure everyone has equal access to affordable housing.
LCBH’s Fair Housing Program heads up the Fair Housing Education Consortium (FHEC), funded by the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, to provide fair housing training to housing providers, renters, community organizations, and the general public to help create awareness and combat discrimination in housing. In 2012, FHEC completed 40 fair housing trainings with 735 people in attendance.