The Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing (LCBH) family just got a little bit bigger. We are happy to welcome April Ikengah as our new CERA Intake Coordinator. As many of you may know, what makes LCBH different is our holistic approach to helping those in need, which involves providing additional supportive services to our most vulnerable clients.
Here is a chance for you to meet April, who joined the team just a few months ago. LCBH is grateful to have April's voice and advocacy. If you are a former staff member, board member, or intern we encourage you to Share Your Story.
How did you first get involved with LCBH?
I first contacted LCBH because I was going through an illegal eviction with my rental company.
What was your first impression of LCBH?
Speaking from a former client's perspective, it was very professional, and the staff was kind and caring.
What does your typical day look like at LCBH?
I'm working from home now due to the pandemic, but basically, I get up at nine, and I call Jude, the Director of Supportive Services, to check-in. We then reach out to clients to determine their eligibility to receive emergency rental assistance so that they can remain housed. We have a lot of meetings where we figure out what other benefits clients would qualify for and find other resources to support them. There's a lot of printing and a lot of scanning.
Are you originally from Chicago?
I'm from Chicago, born and raised.
What do you find most challenging about working as a CERA Intake Coordinator?
Now that I'm working from home, the hardest part is gathering information from the clients. Many people are reluctant to release some information over the phone, as opposed to in-person, so it does take a lot of work. In-person you can see a client's body language, which I find useful in making them feel comfortable. But, I have over the phone customer service experience, which is helpful.
What do you enjoy about the clients that you’ve worked with at LCBH?
Well, what I enjoy about clients is their different lifestyles and different walks of life. It teaches you a lot, especially that we are all essentially one paycheck away from the street. Like some people are engineers. Some people are business owners. So, it's not just one set of people. There's no middle or upper class in this. It's like everybody's on the same playing field.
Why did you choose to work in Housing or Legal Aid?
Well, I chose to work in housing because it's something that I know intimately. The housing crisis and evictions are unfair. So, I decided that, okay, now that LCBH helped me to secure stable housing, why not use my time and energy to helping other people stay housed.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
That I like anime. "One Punch Man."
What has surprised you about the job in the first 30 days?
I have to work from home.
What has been the most important innovation you’ve witnessed in your lifetime?
Smartphones. Definitely, smartphones.