Blog: LCBH News

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.

Two New State Laws

May Improve the Lives of Illinois Renters
Governor Quinn with LCBH staff at bill signing

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed two important pieces of legislation into law. Both bills have the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for LCBH clients.

The Access to Justice Act was signed Thursday, August 15 and the Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure bill was signed Wednesday, August 21.

Access to Justice Act

On Thursday, August 15, Governor Quinn signed the Access to Justice Act which will increase access to justice for all Illinoisans. The new law establishes two pilot projects: one creating a statewide military personnel and veterans’ legal assistance hotline and a program to provide court-based legal assistance within a circuit court in each of the five Appellate Court districts in the state.

“On behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, I thank Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for enacting our proposal into law,” said Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, who attended the signing ceremony. “This law will make the Illinois court system more accessible to veterans and active duty service members and will help citizens in all walks of life. Additionally, it provides funding for self-help centers in law libraries, creates a task force to review the statutory fees imposed on litigation and will establish a pilot project to test how best to provide legal representation in certain civil cases to those who can’t afford an attorney.”

Update: Court Decision Published

A few months ago we told you about Ms. Foster’s victory in the court of appeals. The court’s decision re-affirmed long standing precedents, from the mid 1990’s, regarding when leases survive a transfer of property during foreclosure. LCBH filed a successful motion with the court of appeals requesting that it publish this important decision. While the mortgage company opposed the publication, the court approved LCBH’s motion and the decision was published on June 28, 2013 as “Fifth Third Mortgage Company v. Foster, 2013 IL App (1st) 121361” and may now be used as authority (precedent) in other court cases around the state. It is available on the State of Illinois website (http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2013/1stDistrict/11...). LCBH would like to thank Ms. Foster for her incredible tenacity as well as staff attorney Frank Avellone and law student Michael Griffin for all their hard work on this case.

Fiesta del Sol

LCBH at Fiesta del Sol Housing Pavilion

LCBH staff were on hand at Fiesta del Sol to provide information and resources to renters.

The 4-day festival which ran July 25-28 featured a Housing Resources Pavilion coordinated by Erie Neighborhood House.

Everyone had a great time and we were able to talk to a lot of folks about the work we do.

Hands

This summer LCBH’s Supportive Services program is very fortunate to have two new, and two returning interns to help us out.
- Anais Cotillas
- Grace Pai
- Loretta Maestranzi
- Evelyn Buehler
Welcome to all four of you, everyone at LCBH hopes you enjoy your summer with us.

This summer, LCBH is hosting its first student from the University of Chicago’s Summer Links program. This is another addition to the growing list of schools and programs that are sending students to LCBH to learn about Chicago’s housing issues and get real-world experience working with clients who are at high risk of homelessness without legal and supportive service intervention. Summer Links is an intensive 10-week, paid internship program for 30 returning undergraduate and graduate students committed to public service, community building and social change. Started in 1997 and sponsored by the Dean of the College, Summer Links has placed over 450 students in substantive internships with more than 200 nonprofit and public sector organizations throughout the Chicago area.

Summer Links challenges students to go beyond the classroom to expand their definition of “readings” to include relationships, interactions, and observations; and to confront one another’s perspectives and experiences. Summer Links’ interns extend the classroom to the community, put theory into practice, and then become their peers’ link to the wider community of Chicago once they return to classes in the fall.

2012 Annual Foreclosure Report

LCBH releases the Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project 2012 report.

LCBH has been compiling foreclosure data since 2009, and found that in 2012 the City of Chicago experienced the smallest year-to-year decrease in apartment building foreclosure filings since the beginning of the foreclosure crisis. Not only did the foreclosure crisis recovery slow city-wide, but filings actually increased in Austin, Englewood and other neighborhoods already suffering some of the worst effects of the foreclosure crisis.

The 2012 report examines the impact of foreclosure on the Chicago rental market and renter households using LCBH’s most recent data and the results of renter surveys, and makes recommendations for renter advocacy in light of the new protections in Chicago. Conclusions drawn in this report are informed by data analysis, recent research, and direct testimonials from Chicago renters impacted by foreclosure.

Lacy Burpee at the help desk

This month, we decided to sit down with staff attorney Lacy Burpee, an Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellow to find out a little more about the work she does at the Tenants in Foreclosure Help Desk at the Daley Center.

Lacy, you are an attorney as well as an Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellow, can you tell us where you went to law school and more about that program?
I attended DePaul University College of Law. After graduating, I was selected as one of four Equal Justice Works (EJW) Foreclosure Fellows. This fellowship is a three year position, which is funded by the Attorney General through the mortgage foreclosure settlement. The purpose of these fellowships is to provide services to people impacted by the foreclosure crisis. In my work, I primarily assist tenants who are living in apartment buildings that are going through foreclosure. I spend most of my time at the Tenants in Foreclosure Help Desk, which is located on the 14th floor of the Daley Center, where many eviction courtrooms are located.

LCBH in the Community

LCBH & the Anti Eviction Campaign
Anti Eviction Campaign

The Anti-Eviction Campaign, a grass roots organization working towards ending economically-motivated evictions in Chicago, hosts bi-weekly informational meetings.

LCBH participates in these meetings and provides legal information and brief services to renters facing no-fault evictions and lack of repairs due to foreclosure.

For more information about the Anti-Eviction Campaign please visit their website at http://chicagoantieviction.org/

Young Professionals Board at Hearts for Housing

On March 8th the Young Professional Board presented the 8th annual Hearts for Housing fundraiser. This event is a Hearts card tournament with a very large and diverse raffle that keeps growing every year, making Hearts the most popular event in LCBH history!

Kirkland & Ellis has generously hosted this event for the last four years and they really outdo themselves in support of safe and decent housing in Chicago. Their beautiful conference space was bursting with a sold- out crowd! Todd Maynes, LCBH Board Vice-President and Kirkland & Ellis partner personally sold $14,000 in raffle tickets! It was a charmed and electric evening, guests caught up with old friends, made new ones, and played cards for a great cause!

Thanks to the hard work and contributions of the Young Professionals Board, LCBH Board of Directors, sponsors, raffle donors, staff and you LCBH was able to raise over $43,000 to support program services that assist those most vulnerable in our Chicago community who are facing debilitating housing issues. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when people come together to improve our community! Thank you!

Hearts for Housing Co-Chairs

  • Jessica Panza
  • Vito Giovingo
  • Jeremy Snodgrass

and the rest of our Young Professionals Board

LCBH in the Community

LCBH at Howard Area Community Center (HACC)
Samira & Aileen present at HACC

LCBH attorneys Samira Nazem and Aileen Flanagan (pictured), recently spoke with an ESL class at the Howard Area Community Center (HACC) in Rogers Park about housing issues including landlord and tenant responsibilities, maintenance problems, evictions and lockouts, and foreclosure.

The class is made up of recent immigrant adults to the United States who are trying to improve their literacy and comprehension skills.

Referral information and fact sheets were also shared with the group. Megan Thompson, an AmeriCorps VISTA with LCBH, is a volunteer tutor for the community center and helped organize the event.