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.
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This summer LCBH has four undergraduate interns working in our Supportive Services Department. This is a BIG help as our graduate interns are only here during the regular school year from September until June. Without these students who come to spend their summer with us, LCBH would have a tough time offering the level of service our clients need. Here are a few highlights from each of the students:
Helena Bassett is interning at LCBH through the Summer Links program at the University of Chicago, where she is entering her third year. She is studying history and critical theory, and spends most of her time organizing with the student arm of the Trauma Center Coalition. Working with Supportive Services, Helena is crafting a survey to help get a clearer picture of tenants’ actual needs beyond legal help when they are accepted as an LCBH client. Right now, that means she gets to connect with some of the amazing tenants that have already gone through Supportive Services so that the tenants’ own perspectives help shape the survey and the direction of the program. “I believe that one of the most fundamental ways that asymmetrical power structures are expressed is through the often unjust relationship between tenant and landlord. Working at LCBH shows me one of the avenues possible for challenging that structure.”
Congratulations to our former Supportive Services interns who graduated this past Spring: Hannah Jones, Ellie Hart, Scott Houghton, Loretta Maestranzi, Tiffany Micek and Emily O’Kelly!
LCBH’s Supportive Services Director, John-Paul Beals, was able to attend the graduation ceremonies and said, “I was like a proud parent. What an amazing thing to witness the reward for the hard work these students have done to reach this milestone!”
Over 100 guests joined LCBH at our Summer Event on Tuesday, July 22 at Revolution Brewing. Guests had a great time networking and enjoying the great craft beers. The brewery tours were also very popular. Thanks to everyone who attended and special thanks to the LCBH Young Professional Board for organizing the event!
This summer, staff took time to enjoy an afternoon of bowling at Timber Lanes bowling alley. With the number of tenants in need of LCBH services increasing each year, the event was a nice break from staff members’ normally hectic schedules. Congratulations to staff attorney Noah Magaram for bowling the high score of the day!
The fifth issue in a series of foreclosure reports prepared by LCBH chronicles the often overlooked story of how Chicago renters are affected, and often displaced, by foreclosure.
The impact of the foreclosure crisis on renters has been catastrophic and, despite a 37% decrease in total filings on apartment buildings for the City of Chicago last year, the report shows the disproportionate devastation that continues in particular neighborhoods. All 10 of the community areas with the highest number of units impacted by foreclosure in 2013 are located on either the South or West sides of the city. These communities have had an average of 21.2% of their rental housing units enter foreclosure since 2009 - double the city-wide percent of rental units affected.
With the fragmented geography of the crisis in mind, the 2013 Report offers a guide to place-based policies, strategies, and solutions, tailored to stabilize long-term affordable housing in the foreclosure crisis context.
The Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority have provided funding to LCBH, making it possible for us to reach out to communities throughout Illinois that have been affected by the foreclosure crisis. Although we do not offer direct representation to tenants outside of Chicago, LCBH is travelling throughout Illinois to provide legal information and resources to those areas disproportionately impacted by this crisis. We are visiting targeted areas which are often served by only one non-profit legal service, either Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation or Prairie State Legal Services, who are supporting large geographical areas in a broad spectrum of legal issues ranging from domestic violence and child support to defending termination of public benefits such as social security benefits. Often renters coping with the loss of housing due to foreclosure issues are unable to secure legal help. Our helpline may be the only legal resource accessible to people who live in more remote areas of our state.
LCBH is partnering with the Association of Corporate Counsel and the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to host a day of pro bono training in late May. In-house attorneys from several Chicago-area companies will attend the program and learn about the latest developments impacting the rights of tenants in foreclosure. After the training, attendees will be able to volunteer with the LCBH Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline, delivering one-on-one legal advice and counseling services for tenants whose buildings have gone into foreclosure.
LCBH offers trainings and presentations on a number of issues affecting renters including renters’ rights, foreclosure, and fair housing. Trainings are designed for specific audiences to provide pertinent information. Whether you are an attorney, housing advocate, social worker, community organizer, landlord, or renter, our trainings will provide you with valuable and useful information.
If you’re interested in scheduling a training or presentation, please contact us at (312) 347-7600 for more information.
With last year’s passage of Chicago’s Protecting Tenants in Foreclosed Rental Property Ordinance and Illinois Public Act 098-0514, both of which amend foreclosure law, LCBH staff members have been busy updating our foreclosure materials. The most notable and sought after of these are our foreclosure brochures for both statewide renters and those living in the City of Chicago.
The updated brochures include crucial explanations of the rights and responsibilities of renters who are living in a foreclosed property. The brochures provide introductions to the new legal protections under the relevant laws, as well as a brief self-help guide to understanding the legal timeline of a foreclosure and how to determine whether a foreclosure has taken place. Most importantly, the brochures contain contact information for LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline: Chicago: (312) 784-3507. Both brochures are available in English and Spanish. The Chicago version of the brochure is also available online in Chinese and Polish.
The brochures provide an excellent first-step guide for renters, offering information to foster understanding of the often mystifying foreclosure process. LCBH is confident these updated materials will play a key role in our outreach efforts throughout Chicago and across Illinois.