Blog

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.

In the Case of Occupants Known

Amanda and George Fullerton have lived in Chicago all their lives. They had recently moved into a three-bedroom apartment, which costs $850 a month, on the Southside of the city with their adult daughter. George Fullerton makes a modest living as a truck driver and is the sole breadwinner for his family (his wife and daughter are not employed). The family lived peacefully in their home and paid their rent on time. This spring Mrs. Fullerton came to LCBH with a pending eviction case. She was confused, because she had recently paid rent and was unsure of why this case was being filed.

Apparently, George and Amanda had seen someone new around the property that had informed them that there was a “new owner” and that the previous owner had gone into foreclosure. The “new owner” assured the Fullertons that he would still be renting to them. That was the first and last time they ever heard from the new owner. An attorney at LCBH was able to access the case and explained to Mrs. Fullerton that she had not properly received the compliant and court summons. LCBH informed her that the case had been filed against unknown occupants by the purchaser at the foreclosure sale.

However, Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton had been known. They had signed a lease that was still valid until the end of October with the former landlord, their name was on the mailbox, and Mr. Fullerton had recently spoken to the new owner in March.

Edna’s Ordeal Ends Well with LCBH at Her Side

Edna is a funny, vibrant single mother of three small children. For five years she provided a wonderful home for her family in a building where she a great relationship with her landlord and property manager. Having a stable, decent and affordable place to call home gave her a lot of comfort and gave her the ability to focus on her job and her kids. She was looking forward to many more years in a neighborhood she loved and in a school that was great for her kids. That is until one day, it all changed – her landlord lost the building, including her home, to foreclosure.

Thanks to the hard work of many Chicago advocates, including LCBH, Chicago now has an ordinance that helps to protect renters who are scooped up in the foreclosure process through no fault of their own. When a landlord loses an apartment building to foreclosure, the new owner must either offer to renew (or extend) the existing tenants’ lease or offer to give them relocation assistance. Edna was relieved that the new owner of her building was going to work with her to keep her in her home rather than evict her.

Edna’s Ordeal Ends Well with LCBH at Her Side

Edna is a funny, vibrant single mother of three small children. For five years she provided a wonderful home for her family in a building where she a great relationship with her landlord and property manager. Having a stable, decent and affordable place to call home gave her a lot of comfort and gave her the ability to focus on her job and her kids. She was looking forward to many more years in a neighborhood she loved and in a school that was great for her kids. That is until one day, it all changed – her landlord lost the building, including her home, to foreclosure.

Thanks to the hard work of many Chicago advocates, including LCBH, Chicago now has an ordinance that helps to protect renters who are scooped up in the foreclosure process through no fault of their own. When a landlord loses an apartment building to foreclosure, the new owner must either offer to renew (or extend) the existing tenants’ lease or offer to give them relocation assistance. Edna was relieved that the new owner of her building was going to work with her to keep her in her home rather than evict her.

Exploring the Landscape of Anti-Gentrification

The foreclosure crisis, affecting more than 70,000 Chicago rental properties since 2008, the CHA “Plan for Transformation,” and other forces have accelerated the pace of neighborhood change and concern about gentrification. To be clear, the concern is not about repairing dilapidated properties; everyone wants that. Rather, the concern is about the physical displacement of poor and working class families. This concern frequently includes not only economic displacement, but cultural dislocation as well. For a graphic sense of neighborhood change in Chicago 1970-2010, see the UIC Voorhees Center’s Gentrification Index at http://www.voorheescenter.com/#!gentrification-index/ccmx.

Housing Counselors Helping Renters

Housing Counselors Helping Renters

The Northwest Side Housing Center recently contacted Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) and requested training for housing counselors who are preparing to broaden their services to include renters. Counselors from the Northwest Side Housing Center, the Spanish Coalition for Housing, the Center for Changing Lives, and the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council were able to attend LCBH’s training and we discussed a variety of matters impacting their clients such as termination notices, the impact of foreclosure on renters, and issues related to lead poisoning. Now, when these housing counselors encounter renters needing legal assistance, they have a trusted resource in LCBH as well as the tools they need to asses and refer those clients.

For many years housing counseling agencies have been important resources in their communities, offering counseling, support and assistance to homeowners who are trying to save their homes from foreclosure as well as assisting and educating applicants seeking mortgages. These agencies offer free help to residents in their local community with respect to housing issues. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates these housing counseling agencies.

Q & A with PILI Intern Adrien Fernandez

Each year Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) hosts a legal intern through the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Law Student Internship Program. The program connects law students from across the country with legal aid agencies in Illinois. Interns work part-time during the school year to help increase the impact of the agency and develop their legal skills.

This year, LCBH is excited to work with Adrien Fernandez. Adrien grew up in a suburb of Akron, Ohio and moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State University. She always wanted to live in Chicago so when she was applying to law schools, she mainly focused on schools in the city. She now attends Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

We sat down with Adrien for a Q & A to learn more about her.

Q: What was your major at Ohio State?
A: I double majored in History and Spanish.

Q: What inspired you to attend Law School?
A: While at Ohio State, I became interested in working for the government but I was not sure in what capacity. During my senior year, I had an internship with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office in their Death Penalty Division. I enjoyed the work and thought that what the attorneys did there was admirable. This really cemented for me that I wanted to work for the public and becoming an attorney was a way I could do that.

Q & A with PILI Intern Adrien Fernandez

Each year Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) hosts a legal intern through the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Law Student Internship Program. The program connects law students from across the country with legal aid agencies in Illinois. Interns work part-time during the school year to help increase the impact of the agency and develop their legal skills.

This year, LCBH is excited to work with Adrien Fernandez. Adrien grew up in a suburb of Akron, Ohio and moved to Columbus to attend Ohio State University. She always wanted to live in Chicago so when she was applying to law schools, she mainly focused on schools in the city. She now attends Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

We sat down with Adrien for a Q & A to learn more about her.

Q: What was your major at Ohio State?
A: I double majored in History and Spanish.

Q: What inspired you to attend Law School?
A: While at Ohio State, I became interested in working for the government but I was not sure in what capacity. During my senior year, I had an internship with the Ohio Public Defender’s Office in their Death Penalty Division. I enjoyed the work and thought that what the attorneys did there was admirable. This really cemented for me that I wanted to work for the public and becoming an attorney was a way I could do that.

35th Annual Benefit: Healthy, Happy & Housed Issue

LCBH held it's 35th Annual Benefit: Healthy, Happy & Housed on Tuesday, November 10, 2015. It was terrific to spend time with our friends and allies, old and new!

We heard firsthand from Mars Caulton, a tenant whom LCBH helped when the apartment she and her son lived in for 10 years went into foreclosure. She called LCBH She found herself in a scary web of legal problems just by living in a foreclosed unit, even though she had always paid her rent on time. LCBH put together a team of professionals to help her and her son through a very difficult ordeal and produced an outcome that looked much different than the harsh reality for most renters who must attend court without representation.

We also introduced our new Medical-Legal Partnership in collaboration with Loretto Hospital and PCC Community Wellness Center that brings medical providers and attorneys together to provide a continuum of care for low-income renters who disproportionately fail in their compliance with medical treatment due to barriers that can really only be properly addressed through some legal assistance. Housing problems are among the most common issues that keep people from complying with their treatment or in many instances either causing or exacerbating their illness such as the cases involving lead, mold, and bedbugs. This model of service delivery is can revolutionize the outcomes for people by creating a lasting impact through an interdisciplinary approach.

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Rosenthal

This year’s recipient of the Barbara Grau Outstanding Housing Advocate Award is Elizabeth "Lizzie" Rosenthal.

Foreclosure - A Renter's Story

Mars Caulton

After finding out the apartment she had called home for over 10 years had gone into foreclosure, Mars Caulton called the LCBH Tenants in Foreclosure Helpline for assistance.