Blog: Training

Welcome to LCBH’s Blog. Our blog delivers original articles written by our staff, interns and volunteers. We strive to provide informative stories about the work we do on behalf of Chicago renters and the issues renters face.

Housing Counselors Helping Renters

Housing Counselors Helping Renters

The Northwest Side Housing Center recently contacted Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) and requested training for housing counselors who are preparing to broaden their services to include renters. Counselors from the Northwest Side Housing Center, the Spanish Coalition for Housing, the Center for Changing Lives, and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council were able to attend LCBH’s training and we discussed a variety of matters impacting their clients such as termination notices, the impact of foreclosure on renters, and issues related to lead poisoning. Now, when these housing counselors encounter renters needing legal assistance, they have a trusted resource in LCBH as well as the tools they need to asses and refer those clients.

For many years housing counseling agencies have been important resources in their communities, offering counseling, support and assistance to homeowners who are trying to save their homes from foreclosure as well as assisting and educating applicants seeking mortgages. These agencies offer free help to residents in their local community with respect to housing issues. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates these housing counseling agencies.

Eviction Defense Training

LCBH is hosting an Eviction Defense Training for interested volunteers on Wednesday,July 22 at 12:00 PM. The training will be held at the LCBH office located at 33 N LaSalle Street, Suite 900. Attendees will also receive 1.0 MCLE credit hour. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

This hour-long training will cover the basics of landlord-tenant law and eviction practice in Illinois. Attendees will learn about the various state and local laws governing landlord-tenant relationships and the ins and outs of the eviction courtroom. We will also discuss different ways to get involved and support LCBH’s mission through pro bono work.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) believes that every individual and family is entitled to decent housing as a basic need and human right. For over thirty years, LCBH has defended the rights of tenants to have safe, accessible, and affordable housing on a non-discriminatory basis through education, outreach, supportive services, advocacy, and legal representation impacting over 7000 Chicago area renters each year. LCBH provides free legal assistance to low and moderate-income renters facing eviction and other serious housing issues. With the help of our volunteers, LCBH represents over 400 individuals and families in court each year, many times providing the last defense against homelessness.

Please contact snazem@lcbh.org with questions or to RSVP for the training.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly and LCBH staff attorney Aileen Flanagan

On Saturday March 14, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing attended Second District Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Second Annual Housing Expo. During the event, LCBH provided extended foreclosure counseling to renters living in foreclosed properties and renters visited our table with questions that we were able to address.

On the Road with LCBH

Statewide Foreclosure Advocacy

Going to court can be a very intimidating experience. Imagine finding yourself as a renter, paying your rent on time each month, and then being brought into eviction court because your building went into foreclosure! Do you have to move? When? What about your security deposit?

Many people believe that a person’s right to live in a rental property is contingent on the landlord continuing to own the property, or that when the landlord loses ownership of the building that the renters also lose their leases. In fact, this is not always the case. For renters, foreclosure does not mean “Get Out Now”!

Timely and accurate legal information can be crucial for renters. LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure team works to make people aware that renters may be able to stay, even if their landlord loses the property. LCBH shares this information with stakeholders throughout Illinois, hosting free renters’ rights workshops, distributing brochures, and referring renters to our helpline.

LCBH staff have been on the road throughout Illinois, providing brochures to Illinois Township Supervisors, meeting librarians and sharing resources at the Illinois Library Association annual conference, forging new partnerships, and strengthening current collaborations. Thanks to these visits, our Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline will now be included in the Peoria Landlord Tenant Handbook published by Housing Action Illinois.

On the Road with TFIP

The Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority have provided funding to LCBH, making it possible for us to reach out to communities throughout Illinois that have been affected by the foreclosure crisis. Although we do not offer direct representation to tenants outside of Chicago, LCBH is travelling throughout Illinois to provide legal information and resources to those areas disproportionately impacted by this crisis. We are visiting targeted areas which are often served by only one non-profit legal service, either Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation or Prairie State Legal Services, who are supporting large geographical areas in a broad spectrum of legal issues ranging from domestic violence and child support to defending termination of public benefits such as social security benefits. Often renters coping with the loss of housing due to foreclosure issues are unable to secure legal help. Our helpline may be the only legal resource accessible to people who live in more remote areas of our state.

Advocate Training

Advocate Training

This past month, LCBH and LAF partnered with Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) to train volunteers for MTO’s Tenants’ Rights Hotline which receives more than 10,000 calls from renters annually. MTO’s volunteers will either refer renters to partner agencies, or where appropriate, will advise renters directly about their issues. Because MTO volunteers handle over half the hotline calls in-house, ongoing training of the volunteers by legal staff is extremely important. The all-day training took place at MTO’s office located in the Pilsen neighborhood. Ten new volunteers attended the training where they learned about the rights and responsibilities of tenants in Chicago and the laws that protect them.

Fair Housing Webinars

The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) recently created a series of new Fair Housing webinars funded as a partnership project by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. The series of webinars covers major fair housing issues and is designed to educate stakeholders and the general public about fair housing law under federal law as well as the Illinois Human Rights Act.

All the webinars are available as online videos that can be accessed at any time on the website of Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). The webinars will educate the public on their fair housing rights and provide information for housing providers on their responsibilities under fair housing law. The topics include the housing rights laws for persons with disabilities, for LGBT individuals, for new Americans and immigrants, for condo and coop associations and a general fair housing overview. Three of the webinars are in both English and Spanish versions, and closed captioning is available.

LCBH in the Community

LCBH & the Anti Eviction Campaign
Anti Eviction Campaign

The Anti-Eviction Campaign, a grass roots organization working towards ending economically-motivated evictions in Chicago, hosts bi-weekly informational meetings.

LCBH participates in these meetings and provides legal information and brief services to renters facing no-fault evictions and lack of repairs due to foreclosure.

For more information about the Anti-Eviction Campaign please visit their website at http://chicagoantieviction.org/