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.
Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP)
The Friend of LCBH Award recognizes a corporation, law firm or organization that has contributed consistently and meaningfully to the Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing.
Catie Cottle, Jim Medek and Christine Payne from Kirkland & Ellis LLP
LCBH recognizes these volunteers for dedicating their time and energy to LCBH over the past year. These individuals choose to come to LCBH to learn and make a difference in the lives of others.
Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois
Pat Quinn was sworn in as the 41st Governor of Illinois on January 29, 2009, and won election to a full term in 2010. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has made job creation and economic growth his top priority. His $43 billion capital construction initiative – which will retain or create about 436,000 jobs over six years – includes the $12 billion “Move Illinois” project, one of the nation’s biggest infrastructure endeavors. Illinois has moved forward on social justice under Governor Quinn, who abolished the death penalty, improved nursing home conditions and legalized civil unions for all people. Governor Quinn has long been a true advocate for those in our state who need it most. With new legislation passed by Governor Quinn that will protect renters in foreclosure (SB56) and benefit those who truly need legal assistance and cannot afford it (SB3111 Access to Justice), LCBH is honored to have Governor Quinn join us this evening.
Join LCBH on October 28, 2014 as we welcome keynote speaker Illinois Congresswoman Robin Kelly, as well as celebrate and honor those who have made exceptional contributions to help preserve the vitality, diversity and affordability of Chicago's neighborhoods!
LCBH works to provide early warning foreclosure data to our community partners on newly filed foreclosure cases in order to help assist in keeping renters in their home and keeping buildings operational as affordable housing. As the landscape of foreclosure has changed and new laws have been enacted that provide stronger renter protections, the data most needed now by community organizers is foreclosure sales data.
Foreclosure sales data will enable organizers and tenant advocates to conduct targeted door-knocking and other outreach plans throughout Chicago, particularly related to the enforcement of the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance (KCRO). The protections under the KCRO begin at the point of the confirmation of sale in the foreclosure court case; therefore, the new data will only show properties where there has been a foreclosure sale that has also been confirmed by the court.
LCBH hosted two trainings last month, at which organizers and tenant advocates gained access to the new foreclosure sales data, learned how it works, and had a dataset created and customized to their specific geographic needs. In addition to learning how to access the data, LCBH staff gave a presentation on the laws that affect tenants in foreclosure in the City of Chicago, so that organizers will be best equipped to leverage the new information as effectively as possible in their work.
This summer, Agnes Starling began receiving confusing notices relating to a foreclosure from someone she had never heard of before. Not knowing what to do Ms. Starling called the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing’s (LCBH) Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline for assistance. The helpline was established to provide renters and attorneys with legal information regarding renters’ rights during foreclosure, with the goal of preserving tenancies and avoiding unwarranted evictions. During the counseling, an LCBH staff attorney, looked up the foreclosure case, and provided Ms. Starling with information about her rights as a tenant in a building that had been lost to foreclosure. After a foreclosure, most Chicago tenants are entitled to continue renting at no more than 102% of what they had been paying or be asked to leave with a $10,600 relocation payment. Even if a tenant is asked to leave, the tenant can generally stay until the end of their lease or 90 days after receiving a written notice demand for possession, whichever is longer.
The landlord didn’t inform the tenants that the building was in foreclosure, or that a new owner was taking over the property. Ms. Starling learned about the foreclosure process, that the landlord had lost possession of the property, and that the landlord was no longer entitled to receive her rent.
LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention Project (TFIP) team has been working tirelessly to inform renters throughout Illinois about their rights and responsibilities when they find themselves living a foreclosed building. Renters who live in rural areas of Illinois are often unfamiliar with the court system and the foreclosure process and LCBH’s Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline may be the only legal resource available to them. LCBH is committed is to providing resources to those hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis throughout the state.
This summer LCBH expanded its travels to new areas in Will County and Western Cook County Suburbs. In June, LCBH staff attorney Aileen Flanagan met with Judges O’Leary, Thanos and Barrett of the 12th Judicial Circuit in Will County, who all agreed that LCBH’s foreclosure helpline and brochures will provide a welcomed resource for tenants in Will County who are in danger of losing their housing. Since meeting with the judges and other stakeholders in Willl County, the LCBH helpline has received an increase in calls from these communities. The resources are proving to be helpful to the residents of Will County.