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.

Fellow Spotlight: Jordan Carey

Jordan Carey

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.

Fellow Spotlight: Jordan Carey

Jordan Carey

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

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."

Kira Wilpone-Jordan

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."

We Love Pro Bono

In 2014, 55 attorneys donated more than 3700 hours to the Pro Bono Program at Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) helping families in crisis. In the process, these attorneys developed their litigation skills, learned a new area of law, created new professional relationships and most importantly MADE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of many Chicago renters! Here are some highlights from the LCBH Pro Bono Program from just the 1st quarter of 2015:

Congresswoman Robin Kelly and LCBH staff attorney Aileen Flanagan

On Saturday March 14, Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing attended Second District Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s Second Annual Housing Expo. During the event, LCBH provided extended foreclosure counseling to renters living in foreclosed properties and renters visited our table with questions that we were able to address.

House of Cards: Rebuilding

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

For more information, please visit http://www.artworksprojects.org/events/house-of-cards-rebuilding/

Chicago neighborhood

Gentrification. We hear that word a lot about Chicago’s neighborhoods on the city’s north and northwest sides. What is gentrification? Gentrification is defined as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

Renters in one building in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood know the effects of gentrification first hand. Over the last three years, their building had gone through foreclosure and the court appointment of a property manager. Last year, a developer purchased the property. The developer appeared to be doing things correctly, providing tenants with proper notices and managers to handle the needs of the building. Then construction began on the building; residents were enthusiastic about the improvements to be made to the building. However the construction turned into unsafe conditions; porches were torn down without notice; unannounced water shut-offs; and loud construction. After the improvements started to take place, each tenant received a thirty-day notice to move. They soon realized that after the building received upgrades, they would no longer be able to afford to rent their current homes.

Cold Chicago Winter

January in Chicago usually consists of sub-zero temperatures and high winds. The kind of weather that insists that you stay inside, nice and warm in your home, with your family. Sadly, that nice, warm home was not an option for some tenants in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood whose building had serious issues affecting their health and safety.

Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) often collaborates with various community organizations, like the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO), to address building issues in Chicago. MTO offers a tenants’ rights hotline for people to report building problems, and MTO had received calls from multiple tenants at the South Shore building complaining that they did not have heat. MTO went to the building to investigate. The building conditions were poor. Not only was there no heat, but tenants also had no running water due to frozen pipes and parts of the ceiling were breaking off inside some of the units.

Problem Landlord List at City of Chicago website

Chicagoans now have access to a useful new tool when looking for an apartment to rent – a list of “Problem Landlords.” The list identifies residential building owners who have been repeatedly cited for failing to provide tenants with basic services and protections, such as adequate heat, hot water, and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The landlords listed have three or more serious building code violations, or have been found liable in two or more administrative hearing cases about their building(s). The list will be updated every six months. This list is available at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/building-code....

The City also publishes another useful list for tenants to review – the Building Code Scofflaw List. This list (also found at http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bldgs/supp_info/building-code...) identifies residential building owners who have three or more properties that are the subject of active Circuit Court cases and the building code violations remain uncorrected after the second court hearing . This list is updated once a year.