Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing

Recent Posts

LCBH Executive Director Mark Swartz

Volunteerism is in LCBH’s DNA.

Forty years ago, 10 volunteer attorneys, guided by a vision of greater housing justice, devoted their free time to advocating for renters seeking to improve building conditions in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Through their work, LCBH was born.

Today, though our team has more than tripled in size, our work still hinges on the pro bono attorneys who volunteer with our organization. Without them, LCBH could not have grown out of Rogers Park and into all of Chicago. That’s why I dedicate this post to some of LCBH’s remarkable volunteers and their work during the last two years.

I also hope you’ll celebrate them with me in person at our 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 13th, 2022.

I’m excited to announce Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg (NGE) will receive this year’s Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. Unlike previous winners, we recognize NGE for their incredible work representing our organization in 2021.

Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg

We are pleased to announce Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg (NGE) will take home the 2022 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award at our 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 13th, 2022. Unlike previous winners, we recognize NGE for providing excellent pro bono representation for our organization in 2021.

In the fall of 2020, Brenda, a postal worker and a single mother of two young children, was duped into signing a lease with someone who falsely claimed to be a landlord. The property was actually a bank-owned unit recently in foreclosure. When the bank learned Brenda was living there, they tried to evict her. Brenda, who was unrepresented at the time, believed she had no recourse based on conversations with the opposing counsel, and "agreed" to an eviction order.

Our attorneys agreed to take Brenda's case and moved to vacate the order, based in part on the conversations that occurred between the client and opposing counsel. The trial court refused to vacate the order and imposed sanctions on our attorneys, stating we improperly relied on our client's description of the conversation. This ruling, if allowed to stand, would create a chilling effect across many legal aid organizations advocating for low-income clients.

Shiva Kooragayala

We are pleased to announce Shiva Kooragayala will receive the Barbara Grau Outstanding Housing Advocate Award at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. Presented annually, the award recognizes an individual or organization who has shown extraordinary commitment to protecting renters' rights and advancing housing justice.

"Housing is a platform for people to improve their lives. Getting access to housing, and keeping it once you have it, is so important," Shiva said.

Currently an associate at Massey & Gail, Shiva has spent most of his career working on a variety of housing issues, particularly public and affordable housing policy, he said. In addition to researching local and national housing policies at the Urban Institute, Shiva served as a clinical advocate on several eviction defense matters with Legal Aid Chicago before beginning pro bono housing work while at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Most recently, Shiva helped at LCBH's eviction sealing clinics, both as a pro bono volunteer and a volunteer liaison at Skadden. With the help of LCBH Pro Bono Coordinator Kaitlin Cutshaw, Shiva organized a virtual clinic to engage Skadden lawyers, training them how to write and file a motion, and go to court for their clients.

Renter StoriesMore Stories

Ashley Chong

Mary

Recently, LCBH Rentervention Attorney Ashley Chong went above and beyond to help nervous client "Mary" file a motion to seal an old eviction and prepare to appear in court.

Kimberly

Kimberly

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for many Chicago renters, where widespread employment cutbacks and shelter-in-place mandates have made paying rent burdensome and nearly o

Miss Wade, Eviction During the Pandemic

Miss Wade

While many assume evictions are not an issue for Chicagoans right now due federal and state evictions moratoria, the reality is quite different.

Gerald: My LCBH Attorney and Court Based Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) Prevented me from being Homeless

Gerald

Our client, Gerald S., has worked hard throughout his career and never missed paying his rent.

Michael: Without my LCBH Attorney, I Would Have Been Homeless

Michael

Our client, "Michael," worked hard throughout his career to save for retirement.

I Wouldn't Wish It On My Worst Enemies

Margie

In 30-plus years in the Logan Square area, Margie had only lived in four different apartments.