Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing

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Chicago Evictions Community Forum Recap

On May 16, 2019 we held a community forum at Austin Town Hall Park to release our Chicago Evictions data portal that analyzes eviction court records filed during the calendar years of 2010-2017 with the Circuit Court of Cook County. Our guest speakers were Deborah Bennett (Polk Bros. Foundation), Taft West (Chicago Community Loan Fund), Peter Rosenblatt Ph.D (Loyola University), Diane Limas (Communities United), Frank Avellone (LCBH), and Anthony Simpkins (Chicago Dept. of Planning & Development). If you were not able to attend – or if you were there and want to revisit some of the insights and recommendations our panelists shared — you can now view the full forum on YouTube!

 

Chicago Evictions Data Portal

LCBH's new Chicago Evictions data portal, https://eviction.lcbh.org, was released Thursday, May 16, before some 200 supporters of the organization, advocates, policymakers, and others at Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake St. Based on Chicago residential eviction court records filed during the calendar years of 2010-2017 with the Circuit Court of Cook County, the portal’s unveiling was supported by a grant from Polk Bros. Foundation.

"Being in eviction court has consequences way beyond losing an apartment," says Mark Swartz, executive director of LCBH, the only legal aid agency in the Chicago area advocating solely for renters since 1980. "Our data highlight a series of problems we must solve if the city is to have decent, fair and affordable housing – and help point the way toward some of those solutions, as well."

One example of a consequence is that eviction filings make it difficult for tenants to find a new apartment even if the filing does not result in eviction, due to the way tenant screening services currently use eviction filing data.

EBAD volunteers at the Daley Center

The vast majority of tenants appear in eviction court without legal counsel. They often feel pressured to sign agreements, including agreed eviction orders, which offer them little benefit, and contain terminology they don't understand.These agreed orders or settlements may have far-reaching impact on tenants’ credit, ability to receive public housing assistance, or ability to rent in the future—but renters may not be aware of those potential impacts when they agree to a settlement.

LCBH has teamed up with LAF and DLA Piper to provide brief legal services through the Eviction Brief Advice Desk (EBAD) to help tenants currently facing eviction. Located at the Daley Center, the EBAD advises pro se renters on how to best advocate for themselves in court, and helps them resolve their case as successfully as possible, ideally avoiding an eviction order or getting the record sealed.

In its first year, the EBAD served 64 tenant families, providing advice, preparing pro se documents (e.g. settlement agreements, continuances, motions to vacate, appearances/jury demand); and negotiating deals with pro se landlords and opposing counsel.

Renter StoriesMore Stories

I Wouldn't Wish It On My Worst Enemies

Margie

In 30-plus years in the Logan Square area, Margie had only lived in four different apartments.

Ms. Thomas

Ms. Thomas

Imagine you’re sprawled out on your couch after getting home from work, taking a moment to unwind from the day, thinking about what you might make for dinner.

Rachel’s Paycheck-to-Paycheck Reality

Rachel

We may not realize it, but many people are “one paycheck away from being homeless.” Unfortunately this is the reality for many of those we see at LCBH.

Shannon

Shannon

During her annual checkup, Shannon’s doctor asked whether she was experiencing any stress.

John Sees His Doctor

John

John is a young disabled man who has had asthma all of his life. John is unable to work and he lives on very limited resources and income from Social Security.

In the Case of Occupants Known

Amanda and George

Amanda and George Fullerton have lived in Chicago all their lives.