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.
This month, we decided to sit down with staff attorney Lacy Burpee, an Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellow to find out a little more about the work she does at the Tenants in Foreclosure Help Desk at the Daley Center.
Lacy, you are an attorney as well as an Equal Justice Works Foreclosure Fellow, can you tell us where you went to law school and more about that program?
I attended DePaul University College of Law. After graduating, I was selected as one of four Equal Justice Works (EJW) Foreclosure Fellows. This fellowship is a three year position, which is funded by the Attorney General through the mortgage foreclosure settlement. The purpose of these fellowships is to provide services to people impacted by the foreclosure crisis. In my work, I primarily assist tenants who are living in apartment buildings that are going through foreclosure. I spend most of my time at the Tenants in Foreclosure Help Desk, which is located on the 14th floor of the Daley Center, where many eviction courtrooms are located.
On March 8th the Young Professional Board presented the 8th annual Hearts for Housing fundraiser. This event is a Hearts card tournament with a very large and diverse raffle that keeps growing every year, making Hearts the most popular event in LCBH history!
Kirkland & Ellis has generously hosted this event for the last four years and they really outdo themselves in support of safe and decent housing in Chicago. Their beautiful conference space was bursting with a sold- out crowd! Todd Maynes, LCBH Board Vice-President and Kirkland & Ellis partner personally sold $14,000 in raffle tickets! It was a charmed and electric evening, guests caught up with old friends, made new ones, and played cards for a great cause!
Thanks to the hard work and contributions of the Young Professionals Board, LCBH Board of Directors, sponsors, raffle donors, staff and you LCBH was able to raise over $43,000 to support program services that assist those most vulnerable in our Chicago community who are facing debilitating housing issues. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when people come together to improve our community! Thank you!
LCBH attorneys Samira Nazem and Aileen Flanagan (pictured), recently spoke with an ESL class at the Howard Area Community Center (HACC) in Rogers Park about housing issues including landlord and tenant responsibilities, maintenance problems, evictions and lockouts, and foreclosure.
The class is made up of recent immigrant adults to the United States who are trying to improve their literacy and comprehension skills.
Referral information and fact sheets were also shared with the group. Megan Thompson, an AmeriCorps VISTA with LCBH, is a volunteer tutor for the community center and helped organize the event.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Department has introduced a new tool for tracking service of process.
Users who have issued summons, subpoenas, and other documents to be served by the Cook County Sheriff can use the “Civil Process Service Lookup” feature on www.cookcountysheriff.org to check the status of service.
The user simply enters the case number or Sheriff’s number associated with their documents and they can find out whether or not service was had, or is still pending.
The search results may also show details about who was served, or why the Sheriff could not complete service.
This tool allows litigants to get information about service long before the court docket is updated and without having to go to the courthouse in order to track down the Sheriff’s affidavit of service.
Since welcoming our first three interns in 2006 into our Supportive Service program, LCBH has been host to dozens of students, including the ten interns working with us this year. One factor that makes LCBH’s Supportive Services program so successful is the partnerships we have developed with social work internship programs in Chicago and the greater Midwest.
Our first partnership began seven years ago with the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA) program. Since then our internship partnerships have expanded to include the Masters in Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as undergraduate programs in social work or sociology at schools such as North Park University here in Chicago and Valparaiso University in Indiana. We also partner with two “immersion” programs: the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program. Students participating in these programs come from colleges and universities throughout the Midwest to live and study together as a cohort in Chicago. Part of their experience requires an internship at an agency that serves low-income people.
LCBH was thrilled to take part in the 19th Annual Chicago Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyers Section’s (YLS) Pro Bono and Community Service Fair, hosted at the law offices of Kirkland and Ellis LLP. LCBH was among 50 other Chicago-based legal aid and community organizations offering pro bono opportunities to new and seasoned legal professionals.
The LCBH table was a popular spot during the fair, with a steady stream of attendees stopping by for information. LCBH staff and Young Professionals Board members were available to answer questions and to discuss the many different ways to support LCBH’s work.
Over 20 individuals signed up for more information on pro bono opportunities with LCBH and many more stopped by with questions about LCBH in general.Between the Pro Bono training sessions held at the LCBH office on October 26th and November 15th, we hosted 16 prospective volunteers eager to jump into housing advocacy! We look forward to working with all of our new volunteers over the coming year.
Calling all attorneys! Did you know that volunteering pro bono with LCBH will help you live longer, become richer, and solve world hunger? Well maybe not, but it can help save a family in crisis from homelessness, develop your legal skills, and create new professional relationships.
The need for pro bono services at LCBH and across the country is now greater than ever. The Legal Service Corporation’s Pro Bono Task Force estimates that while 62 million, or one in five, Americans qualify for civil legal assistance, as many of 80% of those who seek it will be denied aid because of insufficient resources.
The American Bar Association encourages each attorney to donate at least 50 hours of service per year. By donating just a few hours of time, a pro bono attorney can help shrink the justice gap and provide much needed support to a family in need.
With the help of volunteers, LCBH is able to impact the lives of over over 7,000 Illinois renters each year. In the last month, our volunteers saved a single mother’s Section 8 voucher, protected an immigrant family from a threatening landlord, and stood up to a bank so eager to evict a tenant that it refused to afford her due process.
LCBH staff attorneys are always here to help you, so whether this is your first pro bono engagement or your hundredth, we will provide the training, resources, and support you need to ensure a positive experience for both you and your client.
As LCBH looks forward to the year ahead, increasing staff and services that will reach many more renters throughout Illinois, it is a bittersweet time as we say so long to two very important people who have been a part of the LCBH family for a very long time. Sharon King and Kathy Clark both retired this year; each leaving a legacy that sustains the agency well into the future ensuring many more people will have meaningful access to the judicial process to provide safe, decent affordable housing for their families.