The year 2013 started out in an ironic twist for LCBH, we found ourselves facing eviction, just like most of our clients. We received an eviction notice from our landlord along with all the other tenants at 100 W. Monroe, with only 90 days to move. Suddenly, we were the renter looking for a new home!
Thanks to the incredible efforts of LCBH staff, Board, and many outside stakeholders, we were able to successfully make the move to 33 N. LaSalle while simultaneously continuing to provide legal and supportive services for our clients at usual levels.
Funding in 2013 increased and LCBH was able to hire several additional staff members to bring our foreclosure efforts on behalf of renters up to scale. The generous support of the State of Illinois, Cook County and a 3 year grant awarded to LCBH by the Office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2012 continues to provide funding for legal assistance and education about foreclosure issues for Illinois renters. LCBH’s staff has offered trainings and presentations, educating renters about their rights in eviction, and providing an advocate’s strong voice representing the interests of renters who suddenly find themselves in eviction court, struggling with a legal system that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. In foreclosure cases involving renters, LCBH has been on the move in Chicago, and communities around the state of Illinois, educating renters about how to determine if their building is in foreclosure, the timeline for a foreclosure case, and their rights in eviction proceedings.
In 2013, LCBH saw a time of great change as the agency expanded its policy efforts on behalf of renters. In May, Cook County passed a Human Rights Ordinance ensuring equal opportunity to housing on a non-discriminatory basis for renters using Housing Choice Vouchers. LCBH and other fair housing advocates have been advocating for this ordinance for more than ten years. Working with the Keep Chicago Renting Coalition, LCBH drafted an ordinance for the City of Chicago to help renters remain in their homes until their foreclosed building is sold to a third party purchaser, and to increase protections for renters. With the release of LCBH’s 2012 Foreclosure Report, the agency continued to provide a premiere tool for those seeking information and updates about the foreclosure involving renters in Chicago. LCBH supported the efforts of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Heartland Alliance to introduce an amendment to the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law which codified the federal provisions of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), which was signed into law in August. November brought the passage of legislation which allows Limited Scope Representation, which makes it possible for LCBH (and other legal aid agencies) to file a limited appears in a case to perform a specific legal task for a client, such as arguing a motion for summary judgment, appearing at one court date, or negotiating a settlement. Grant funding received in 2014 will make it possible for LCBH to continue to expand its public policy efforts on behalf of renters.
Thanks to our generous supporters, LCBH moves into our 34th year continuing to provide a voice for those in need of sustainable housing, improve living conditions, and a thriving neighborhood. Everyone deserves a safe and decent place to call home. Thank you for supporting LCBH’s efforts to help make that a reality for some of our Chicago neighbors.