What was happening that led you to need LCBH's services?
We were renting an apartment and started to notice that people were coming to see the building pretty frequently. My sisters took notice of these strangers and eventually asked them why they were routinely stopping by. To our surprise, they said the building was in foreclosure. Meanwhile, we were still paying rent. I called the landlord and he said that he was behind in some of his payments, but it was nothing to worry about. Some months down the road, we finally learned that he no longer owned the building and he wasn’t paying the mortgage. One of my landlord's siblings lived upstairs so we thought we were fine. We weren’t. The landlord took a bank offer and we were almost immediately served with eviction papers. I reached out to Legal Aid Chicago and they connected me with LCBH.
What was the transition like for you from one home to another?
Aileen Flanagan from LCBH helped tremendously in receiving help. She negotiated a settlement with the post foreclosure owner based on the KCRO. This is the ordinance in Chicago that requires post foreclosure landlords to pay relocation money if they won’t allow the renter to remain. The bank provided relocation assistance but we couldn’t find anything for a while. Then Covid happened and things got much worse. We temporarily moved to Arizona with my brother. We also stayed in hotels until we found something. Fortunately, my aunt referred us to her landlord back in Chicago as another family was moving out and we were able to move in.
What was the outcome of your case?
Although this was the second time that a situation like this had happened to us, the outcome of working with LCBH was much different. The first time, we were ignorant about the resources that were available to us. Aileen was always prioritizing our needs. She would throw suggestions at us, but we didn't want to seem as if we were money hungry. We felt like we weren’t doing enough, and Aileen would always call and reassure us if she needed more info. Her work led to us being able to receive enough assistance to cover everything we needed and make the move.
What was it like working with Aileen (your LCBH attorney)?
My experience was wonderful. It felt like we became friends, more like family. She kept in touch with me and kept us updated along the way. We're so grateful. Aileen was Godsent. She was more worried about where we were going and how we were going to afford it. Despite it being very hard to find an apartment with credit and background checks, she made sure we would have the resources to find a place. She genuinely cared.
What would you tell someone who was in a similar situation?
I was initially precautious, suspicious even, of the resources being offered to my family by LCBH. Don’t be. They exist for a reason and the help is there. Take advantage of it. I’m grateful that I did.
Do you have any updates to share?
We're very happy where we are at now and we’re thankful for what we have. Thank you again to LCBH and Aileen for your assistance.