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.
The staff at Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) work hard every day to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. Whether it is an attorney, volunteer, or intern they are 100% invested in our mission and our clients. As many of you may know, what makes LCBH different is our holistic approach to helping those in need, which involves providing additional supportive services to our most vulnerable clients. Here is a chance for you to meet our new Supportive Services Director, Christine Daly who joined the team just a few months ago.
Q: How would people describe you?
A: Goofy. Loyal. Organized. Motivated. Tough. Caring.
Another round of applause, please, for the 2015 Housing Heroes who sponsored Hearts for Housing and to all who participated! Your generosity and commitment to safe, decent and affordable housing for all helped LCBH have its most successful event to date. Many who live in poverty will benefit from the $100,000 you raised to support LCBH programming! The legal and supportive services that LCBH provides are, many times, the last defense against homelessness. Thank you for giving so much heart – to the Hearts for Housing event, and to our community. You are all housing heroes!!!
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Sidley & Austin
Todd and Susan Maynes
Brinks Gilson & Lione
Banner & Witcoff
Sharon King Foundation
LCBH would like to thank everyone who attended our tenth Annual Hearts for Housing Fundraiser on April 24th. It was great fun to spend the evening playing cards, eating, drinking, and networking with YOU to support a great cause!
Your generosity along with many other individuals, sponsors, and local businesses made Hearts for Housing 2015 a smashing success. Thank you!
LCBH was able to raise over $100,000 to support programs that provide legal and supportive services impacting over 10,000 lower income renters a year. Every one of us has something to contribute to keeping Chicago vibrant and affordable for all of us because we all deserve a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.
We owe a special thanks to LCBH Board of Directors and the Young Professionals Board for their extraordinary efforts in making this raffle and auction a great success! It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when people come together to improve our community!
Thank you for attending this special event and for your support. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Congrats to Annemarie, Jim, Steve, and Bert our Hearts for Housing 2015 Tournament Winners!
Again, thank you for your continued support of LCBH’s mission. We look forward to seeing you at future events!
LCBH’s Young Professionals Board (YPB) began in 2010. The YPB has played a very important role in Hearts for Housing – acquiring raffle prizes, selling raffle and event tickets, and volunteering during this popular LCBH annual event. On the heels of celebrating the tenth annual Hearts for Housing, we thought we would introduce you to YPB President, Jessica Panza. Thank you, Jessica, for all that you do for LCBH. Your enthusiasm is infectious!
How did you first get involved with Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing?
Claire Battle, LCBH Board Secretary, introduced me to LCBH several years ago, when we were both starting our careers as attorneys. She had been involved for quite some time and her enthusiasm for the organization spurred my involvement. As I learned about LCBH's mission, the real need for LCHB's services in our community, and lack of other similar resources, I better understood Claire's passion for LCBH and jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the formation of the Young Professional's Board.
For 10 years, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing has counted on generous donations from local businesses, corporations, firms and individuals, providing a wonderful variety of exciting raffle prizes for the Hearts for Housing raffle. This partnership invests in our community, and helps ensure that lower-income renters receive free quality legal and supportive services that, in many cases, can prevent homelessness. With our partners’ help, LCBH advocates for the rights of all renters. We could not do what we do without the generous support of a caring community. Thank you to the veteran, and new, raffle prize donors who believe in LCBH’s mission. Everyone in Chicago deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.
Since 2008, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) awards the Edwin J. Brach and Hazel Bertram Brodie Fellowship to a recent law school graduate who has shown a commitment to LCBH's mission of promoting the rights of tenants to safe, decent, and accessible affordable housing. The legal fellowship supports a law student or recent law graduate in service to low-income tenants. We are proud to announce that the 2015 recipient of this fellowship is Jordan Carey!
Jordan's first encounter with LCBH took place back in the summer of 2013. After graduating from the University of Miami Law School, Jordan yearned for colder and snowier pastures and returned to the Chicagoland area where he was raised. A friend of a friend brought him to an LCBH event in Millennium Park where he met LCBH staff and learned about their work. Now, almost two years later, Jordan has become a familiar face around the LCBH office having volunteered over 1300 hours.
Kira Wilpone-Jordan learned about Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) as a first year law student (1L) while attending DePaul Law School. She attended a Brown Bag Lunch sponsored by the Center for Public Interest Law where she heard LCBH's pro bono coordinator, Samira Nazem, speak about the agency. Intrigued by what she heard, Kira applied to join LCBH as a summer intern. Two years later, Kira continues to volunteer and has worked with three different legal programs at LCBH advocating on behalf of tenants.
As a strong supporter of LCBH's mission, Kira firmly believes that housing is a basic human right. As she puts it, "people in positions of power know they have housing, so they don't think of the consequences of not having access to stable housing and living with housing insecurity. It's something that everyone uses, but often takes for granted."
Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing staff attorney Frank Avellone and clients recently contributed to an ongoing series of exhibitions by ART WORKS Projects. ART WORKS Projects’ mission is, “to use design and the arts to raise awareness of and educate the public about significant human rights and environmental issues.” ART WORKS Projects accomplishes this by doing focused exhibits centered on humanitarian issues, using a combination of storytelling, photography, and videography, to portray and disseminate a given issue. The current project they are focusing on is the nationwide affordable housing crisis as the most pressing humanitarian crisis in the U.S., and the individuals and/or families who have been directly impacted by this crisis in America.
The ART WORKS Projects is titled House of Cards: Rebuilding
Opening Reception with Artists & Experts
April 8, 6:25 PM - 9:00 PM
Panel: Confronting Housing Insecurity
April 29, 6:25 - 8:00 PM
All events are held at 625 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago FREE & Open to the Public
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.
Our Intake Supervisor, Sue Scholten, has been with LCBH for five years. In this article, Sue shares some perspectives on the integration of supportive services when helping renters with legal problems.
According to Sue, it all starts with the intake interview, which is not really an interview, but rather a conversation that involves listening to the multiple messages the person presents and the environment from which those messages emerge.
In the beginning, when listening to an individual’s story for the first time, we look for factual information that are legal defenses to an eviction and can inform the attorneys when deciding whether LCBH will be able to take the case or not. During this process, there are multiple messages about the “person in environment” that emerge and may be of concern to LCBH’s supportive services team. Underneath the basic facts of their potential legal case, there is the psychological and narrative messages that have evolved from long- term economic disadvantage, non-responsive institutional systems, and family and friend support systems with limited resources to assist this person.
Just as an individual’s personal experiences may create inspiring resiliency, for others there is psychological and social exhaustion that evolves from systems that create disadvantage and exclusion. It is in this undefined area of response to events that an individual may need additional assistance in the form of supportive services.