Help Us Help Our Neighbors

Daniela with her sons

Your gift to Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing is a meaningful investment in our very own Chicago community to ensure everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. You can take a stand to show support for families who are living in terrible conditions, or facing homelessness, with little or no access to the courts that are supposed to protect them.

I would like to share with you the story of Daniela, a strong, funny, and determined single mother of three sons, Alex, Gabe, and Tom. Daniela works over 45 hours a week at two part-time minimum wage jobs, making less than $18,000/year, trying to provide a good home for her family.

Daniela’s family had previously been living in a building that went into foreclosure. Even though she had been paying rent and had a lease, the family was evicted when the lender took over the building. Daniela was able find a two bedroom apartment in a modest neighborhood for $950/month, more than 60% of her gross income. It was not in her previous neighborhood where all of her family, friends, and children’s schools were located, and the apartment had problems that needed to be fixed, but it was the best she could find. Prior to signing the lease the landlord assured Daniela that all of the problems would be fixed, but when the fall’s cold snap arrived Daniela and her boys had no heat. After Daniela made numerous requests for heat, she received an eviction notice.

Daniela arrived at LCBH very nervous that she would not be able to find a new apartment because she had such a terrible time finding her current apartment. Just being named in an eviction court case, which is part of the public record, makes it much less likely that a landlord will rent to a person with moderate income and a mediocre credit score.

LCBH was able to represent Daniela in the eviction case filed by her landlord, settle the case in her favor, and have her eviction record sealed to prevent further damage to her credit rating and ability to rent. The LCBH supportive services team helped Daniela and her children find a new home where they are now happily looking forward to celebrating the upcoming holidays.

Will you help LCBH continue to provide legal and supportive services for families and individuals in need? Your support builds a stronger community. Your help make a difference in the lives of others.

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The housing crisis has turned the corner for many, but the majority of low and moderate-income renters have been left behind. For the last six years, LCBH has been at the forefront of the foreclosure crisis as it affects renters. It’s astonishing to me, in a city as large as Chicago where there seems to be housing everywhere, that for every 100 units of affordable rental housing that are needed there are only 27 available to rent at rates considered affordable for low income families of four, and that 77% of those families are paying more than 50% their total income on rent.

To be honest, it is difficult to explain the important role that attorneys play in securing the rights of renters. Here at LCBH, we are fortunate that you understand the difference an attorney can make to help those less fortunate have meaningful access to the courts. Even a little assistance from an attorney can have a high impact on the outcomes in court for renters. By leveling the playing field for those without a voice, we make the justice system fairer for everyone.

Thanks to our generous supporters, last year LCBH was able to:

  • provide an advocate’s voice in eviction court for nearly 500 renters and their families, most of whom are women – with children, the elderly, disabled or with a disabled family member;
  • educate more than 1,900 renters, advocates and members of community organizations about residential landlord tenant law;
  • train 129 lawyers and volunteers in eviction defense;
  • offer legal information at the help desk outside the eviction courtrooms in the Daley Center and on the Tenant in Foreclosure help lines in Chicago and around the state of Illinois;
  • deliver supportive services in 94 households for 282 individuals (including 121 children) who faced housing instability and possible homelessness; and
  • share ready access to website resources accessible on mobile phones and tablets.

LCBH provides legal services and additional supportive services to help clients like Daniela in the immediate crisis of the legal situation, but also works to help families move beyond their emergency to achieve stable housing. Stable housing is the cornerstone of building strong and vibrant neighborhoods and communities.

Will you ease the struggle of families who come to LCBH seeking legal services, and help create stable housing for our neighbors?

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2015 will be an exceptionally challenging year for LCBH as we see a large three year grant, that allowed us hire the staff needed to make a powerful impact for tenants in foreclosure, come to an end. Thank you for considering us in your year-end contributions. Your investment in LCBH today may be doubled, thanks to a challenge grant from a generous donor!

On behalf of all of us at LCBH, we wish you a warm and happy holiday season!