Mark’s Musings: November 2023

Nov 20, 2023

If you ask anyone at a nonprofit, chances are they’ll say this is their busiest time of year. At LCBH, quarter four marks the season of giving, the welcome of winter weather, and, with it, many urgent conditions issues in apartments. Amid this chaos, this week reminds me to slow down and reflect on the many people who make our work possible.  

I am so grateful for the staff, board members, volunteers, and donors who ensure our continued success as eviction filing rates return to their pre-pandemic levels. With their support, we have the capacity and innovative tools to keep up with this ever-growing need.  

The City of Chicago Right to Counsel Pilot Program is in full swing. More than a year into the program, our staff, and dedicated partners at CARPLS and Legal Aid Chicago, provided extended representation for more than 1,000 renters in eviction court. Last month, Mayor Johnson proposed a permanent Right to Counsel Ordinance to City Council. This is a monumental step toward making Chicago’s eviction courts more equitable. I am so proud of the tremendous work done by our staff in the pilot program and grateful to see Chicago move forward with policies that advance renters’ rights. You can read more here 

Outside of eviction court, our Rentervention project continues to provide thousands of households with tailored information about their rights and support drafting letters to their landlords each year. Last week, LCBH was recognized for this innovation at the 22nd annual Chicago Innovation Awards. Rentervention received the 2023 Wintrust Chicago Neighbor Award, which celebrates innovations that are solving challenges experienced by Chicago’s neighborhoods and its residents. Thank you, Conor Malloy, Rentervention Director, the Rentervention Team, and the Lawyers Trust Fund, for making this project such a success. Your creativity ensures we can empower more renters to solve housing problems before an eviction is filed. Read more. 

LCBH’s Board of Directors also saw growth this year as we welcomed two new members: Felicia Shakespeare and Shiva Kooragayala. Felicia, a bestselling author and founder of A Purpose Driven Woman LLC and podcast, brings branding and project management expertise to our board. Shiva, the 2022 Barbara Grau Outstanding Housing Advocate Award winner, joins our board from Massey & Gail. Shiva has an extensive background in fair housing work and served as a volunteer with LCBH during the COVID-19 pandemic and eviction moratorium. I am thankful to see our board grow to include even more members with a passion for housing justice and renters’ rights. You can learn more about Felicia and Shiva on our blog.  

Many of these developments would not be possible without the continued support of our donors. It is through their generosity that our work grows. There are many ways to give to LCBH this year, including planned giving through your estate or long-term financial plan. I am grateful for people like LCBH co-founder, David Orr, who include LCBH in their financial plan. In his words, “I’m including LCBH in my estate plans because I believe in the power of legal advocacy to transform lives and communities.” You can learn more about Planned Giving here 

I would also like to express gratitude to the donors who have given to LCBH this year. A donation in any amount makes a significant difference in the life of a Chicago renter. Your support assures we can continue empowering renters with innovative technology to prevent evictions, protect renters’ rights inside eviction court, and advance policies that safeguard decent housing for all renters. Together, we will make Chicago a more equitable place to call home. An anonymous donor will match any new or increased donations up to $5,000. Donate 

With gratitude,