Stabilizing housing for children through a school-based clinic

Katilin Cutshaw

LBCH welcomes Katilin Cutshaw, an Indiana University Maurer School of Law graduate and alum of Teach for America (TFA), as an Equal Justice Works (EJW) Fellow.

During her TFA training, Kaitlin explored the historical causes of student achievement gaps, with access to housing as an important contributing factor. Her efforts as a LCBH law student volunteer further connected those dots.

"My understanding of student displacement and how it disrupts a child’s education solidified here at LCBH," Kaitlin shares.

With the help of our staff, she created her EJW project proposal to develop a school-based clinic that offers housing-focused legal aid with the help of pro bono volunteers.

Kaitlin hopes to reach out to schools in the Austin and South Shore neighborhoods, two areas of Chicago with high rates of eviction as well as rising housing costs, although any school with high risk of student displacement would be a potential candidate.

The pilot clinic launch is planned for early 2020 and will be staffed by pro bono attorneys from the Chicago area offering brief advice on issues such as tenant rights, assistance with landlord disputes, referrals for non-housing issues, and direct representation in eviction court. Katie’s project sponsor, Latham & Watkins LLP, will provide clinic resources and marketing efforts. Lesson learned in this pilot phase will create a model for establishing clinics in additional schools.

A secondary benefit of Katilin’s efforts will be the opportunity to collect Chicago-specific information in support of LCBH’s policy initiative to bar no-fault evictions of families with school-age children during the school year.

Contact Kaitlin at kcutshaw@lcbh.org to learn more, connect her to a school staff member, or to schedule a pro bono lawyer training at your firm.

Watch for further updates as Kaitlin’s project takes shape this fall.

LCBH is grateful to partner again with Equal Justice Works, an organization that believes that a community of lawyers committed to public service can fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all. Since 1986, they have been facilitating opportunities for law students and lawyers to engage in public service and bring lasting change to under-served communities across our country.