Grantees

Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago provide peer-oriented Independent Living Services, public education, awareness, and development, individual and systematic advocacy, and enforcement of civil rights on behalf of people with disabilities. This year, the IBF is supporting Access Living’s Civil Rights Team. This team provides a variety of services, including handling fair housing complaints, providing legal aid to disabled individuals, engaging in class action litigation to enforce the American with Disabilities Act, monitoring settled litigation to ensure compliance; conducting outreach and education for disabled individuals; informing and working with the public on disability issues, and organizing advocacy to create system changes.
FY10 Grant Award: $7,000 to support their Civil Rights Team

Apna Ghar
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Apna Ghar provides an array of services to victims of domestic violence and their children, primarily focusing on South Asian and other immigrant communities. Their diverse staff is trained to address both cultural differences and the needs of domestic violence victims. Apna Ghar strives not only to meet the needs of domestic violence victims by securing their safety but also to respect their religious and cultural beliefs. Apna Ghar collaborates with The Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services, Life Span, The National Immigrant Justice Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, The Chicago Legal Clinic, DuPage Bar Legal Aid Services, World Relief Chicago, DePaul University’s Immigration and Asylum Legal Clinic, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, and Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic.
FY10 Grant Award: $5,000 to support their Legal Advocacy Program for Domestic Violence Survivors

Cabrini Green Legal Aid
Located in Chicago-Serving Cook County

Cabrini Green Legal Aid has provided free legal services to the underserved of Chicago for 37 years by helping them with issues in the areas of family, housing, criminal records and criminal records. In Illinois, criminal records are public records, and post 9/11 employers are increasingly conducting background checks as part of their hiring process, making it difficult for deserving people to find work because of irrelevant past convictions. CGLA is widely recognized as the state-wide leader in the clearing of arrest and conviction records, and has helped thousands of Cook County residents find work when the odds are working against them.
FY10 Grant Award: $7,500 to support CGLA Criminal Records Program

CARPLS Legal Aid
Located in Chicago-Serving Cook County

CARPLS’s Legal Aid Hotline provides clients with direct access to knowledgeable and skilled attorneys who are trained to promptly assess and respond to a variety of civil legal issues. Through this hotline, these attorneys are able to resolve more than 85% of all cases in-house by providing “information, advice and brief services including the preparation and review of legal documents.” The Hotline utilizes pro bono attorney participation through its “Go Bono” project, which allows attorneys to volunteer for the Hotline in their own office—or any other remote location, as long as they have a computer, a phone and a broadband connection. Additionally, in 2009, CARPLS launched “CARPLS Works,” a project that targets Chicago attorneys who are looking for work and encourages them to volunteer at the Hotline for 4 hours a week.
Fy10 Grant Award: $10,000 to support the CARPLS Legal Aid Hotline

Center on Halsted
Located in Chicago-Serving the Chicago Metropolitan Area

The Center on Halsted, which is a comprehensive Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender community center, provides services to clients through many programs, such as the following: Legal Program, Anti-Violence Project, Community Technology Center, Mental Health Services, HIV/AIDS Services, Community and Cultural Programs, Youth Program, Sexual Orientation and Gender Institute, and Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders. The Center on Halsted’s Legal Information Center, which is what the IBF is specifically funding during the 2009-2010 year, consists of the Legal Advice Clinic, Legal Education Workshops, Legal Internet Resources, and a Crisis Line. The Center on Halsted Legal Information Center collaborates with Lambda Legal, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, McDermott, Will & Emery, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, and the Legal Assistance Foundation.
FY10 Grant Award: $3,000 to support their Legal Information Center

Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
Located in Chicago-Serving the Chicago Metropolitan Area

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee consists of 44 member law firms. The attorneys at these law firms provide volunteer legal services to the CLC, totaling to approximately 20,000 hours per year. Pro bono opportunities are regularly offered to the member law firms and range from transactional work to litigation to mediation. The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee is receiving funds for a technology upgrade, which will increase staff productivity, enhance the legal aid provided, encourage pro bono legal work by allowing volunteer attorneys greater access to information online (training materials, forms, documents, etc.), and educate Illinois residents about their rights and responsibilities through online information.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $5,000 to support a technology upgrade

Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers
Located in Chicago-Serving Decatur, Dwight, Lincoln, & Aurora

CLAIM provides legal and educational services to disadvantaged women, many of whom have suffered physical violence or sexual abuse in the past, and helps them to maintain an essential bond with their child even during incarceration. CLAIM’s legal aid allows incarcerated women to take care of their child by making safe decisions that provide them with homes with trusted caregivers and keeping them out of the foster system. Additionally, CLAIM seeks to reduce recidivism by referring clients to various programs that will help them to reintegrate into the community and stay out of prison by addressing the root causes of their incarceration head on. CLAIM provides free legal services to women who have been incarcerated through their Panel Program, Family Law Clinic and Client Education.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $7,500 to support Onsite Services

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
Located in Chicago-Serving Cook County

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services’ mission is to “provide pro bono representation to persons who have meritorious legal claims or defenses but cannot afford legal counsel.” In collaboration with the Cook County Chancery Court, this program provides free legal representation to low-income clients in Chancery Court cases. When a low-income individual unable to afford a lawyer comes before the Chancery Court in mortgage foreclosure or related property cases, the Chancery Court appoints the CVLS to represent the individual. Staff attorneys review the potential client’s case, gather information and handle any emergency measures that need to be taken. From there, if accepted, the client is placed with a volunteer attorney. The volunteer then represents the client throughout the case. CVLS staff attorneys continue to monitor the case. In addition, CVLS recruits and trains volunteer attorneys as well as provide support throughout the action. IBF grant funds would go towards the salary of a Chancery Court Access to Justice Program staff attorney.
FY 10 Grant Awarded: $7,500 to support their Chancery Court Access to Justice Program

Domestic Violence Legal Clinic
Located in Chicago-Serving Cook County

The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic is a civil service agency that provides free legal services and referrals to low income Cook County residents who are or have been victims of domestic violence and helps them to achieve safety from these abusive relationships. These free legal services range from information to referrals to litigation. In partnership with the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Clerk of the Circuit Court, DVLC runs an on-site, court-based program that offers “same day emergency legal services, including actual litigation” on a walk-in basis at no expense to the client.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $7,500 to support general operating funds

Equip for Equality
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Equip for Equality is the only statewide, cross-disability, comprehensive advocacy organization providing self-advocacy assistance, legal services, and disability rights education while also engaging in public policy and legislative advocacy and conducting abuse investigations and other oversight activities.

This year’s IBF grant will go to support Equip for Equality’s Special Education Clinic. This clinic is a single place where parents of disabled children can turn to obtain comprehensive information, legal advice, strategies and referrals on their child’s special education rights. The Special Education Clinic’s services include legal advocacy through their helpline, self-advocacy materials, extended advice, legal representation, educational seminars, outreach to target populations and public policy/systematic advocacy. With the help from IBF funding, Equip for Equality will continue to positively impact the lives of students with special education needs.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $10,000 to support the Special Education Clinic

Family Defense Center
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Family Defense Center provides legal advocacy for children live in a safe environment with their own families and for families asserting their right to raise their own children. This year’s IBF grant will go to support the Mothers’ Defense Education and Advocacy Project. This project provides legal aid to mothers who have been wrongly accused and are facing the loss of custody of their children. To accomplish the program’s goals, the Mothers’ Defense Project plans on using 2 staff attorneys, with additional support from pro bono attorneys. The project’s strategies for meeting these goals include developing an informative presentation to give to groups, recruiting volunteer attorneys and social service workers, taking on two appellate cases, submitting a rule eliminating “allowing abuse” as a ground to restrict custody, and developing an issue of the Family Defense Center’s newsletter to this new program.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $5,000 to support the Mothers’ Defense Education and Advocacy Project

Family Shelter Service
Located in Wheaton-Serving DuPage County

Family Shelter Service is constantly working towards their mission to service those affected by domestic violence by implementing several key programs including a hotline, a residential program providing emergency shelter and intermediate housing, group and individual counseling, training workshops, and the court/victim advocacy program. This year’s IBF grant will go towards their court/victim advocacy program, which provides services to approximately 1,400 clients each year. Court/victim advocates respond to police reports of domestic violence by trying to contact the victim and then explaining the court process, legal options, and court rulings. Advocates assist the victim throughout the process, by assisting them with paperwork and forms, accompanying victims to court, preparing them for court appearances, following through by evaluating the effectiveness of orders of protection, and helping victims develop safety plans. Additionally, advocates hold monthly Legal Clinics with a volunteer attorney, where victims’ questions and issues are addressed
FY10 Grant Awarded: $5,000 to support the court/victim advocacy program.

Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice
Located in Rockford-Serving Statewide

Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice’s mission is to “improve access to justice for lower income people.” To achieve this, the Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice develops and publicizes self-help centers with access to online legal information. The Illinois Coalition for Equal Justice is receiving funding to assist in opening 7 new self-help desks in rural counties: Vermillion, Henry, Mercer, Whiteside, Brown, Schuyler, and Warren. These help desks, based in public libraries, are user friendly areas where members of the public can obtain basic information about their legal rights and responsibilities, as well as information about court procedures.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $7,500to support their Rural Legal Self-Help Center Project

Illinois Equal Justice Foundation
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation is a bi-partisan effort to increase state appropriation for civil legal services to low-income persons. This year’s IBF grant will go to support their Equal Justice Illinois Campaign. This campaign was implemented to maintain the state appropriation for legal aid. To achieve this, the Campaign plans on advocating to maintain the current appropriation at $1.75 million (that is, avoid further cuts) and create a newsletter to educate legislators and the public about state appropriation for legal aid. This campaign is a collaboration between the IBF, the ISBA, the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $3,000 to support their Equal Justice Illinois Campaign

Illinois Legal Aid Online
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Illinois Legal Aid Online provides comprehensive, internet-based resources for legal aid advocates, pro bono lawyers and members of the public seeking legal information. Information is distributed through their three websites: www.illinoislegalaid.org, www.illinoisprobono.org and www.illinoislegaladvocate.org. ILAO is receiving IBF funding to support and develop the online resources. Specifically, ILAO has enhanced its Pro Bono Attorney of the Month program by recognizing attorneys practicing outside of Chicago and pro bono programs. ILAO has also partnered with the Public Interest Law Initiative to create a pro bono mentoring program.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $12,500 to support general operating funds

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
Located in East St. Louis-Serving Central and Southern Illinois

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation provides free, civil legal assistance to low-income persons and senior citizens in 65 counties in central and southern Illinois. This year’s IBF funding will go to support their Homeownership Preservation Project. This project provides free legal services to individuals who face losing their homes, with the goal of helping low-income and elderly persons retain ownership of their homes. The majority of cases handled under this project are foreclosure and mortgage delinquency cases. The rest of the cases involve contract for deed issues, title problems, taxes and liens, and conditions. Callers to their Legal Advice and Referral Center are screened and then directed to the appropriate LOLLAF service. For clients in default—or close to being in default—in addition to providing necessary legal services, LOLLAF provides budget counseling and a determination of their eligibility for forbearance agreements or federal mortgage modification programs.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $15,000 to support their Homeownership Preservation Project

Lawyers Committee for Better Housing
Located in Chicago-Serving Chicago

The Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing’s provides low-income tenants with education, legal advocacy and representation free from discrimination. This year’s IBF funding will go to support the Tenants in Foreclosure Project. Through this project, the LCBH provides legal aid to low-income tenants who have been displaced or face being displaced by the foreclosure of their buildings. This is the only program dedicated solely to providing legal aid to tenants facing displacement from foreclosures on the buildings in which they reside. In addition to assisting tenants facing losing their homes, the Project conducts workshops/forums in neighborhoods especially hard hit with building foreclosures. The Project has also created educational materials and produces a weekly building foreclosure report, which is distributed to neighborhood groups so they can intervene early on in the foreclosure process. TIFP also created and distributed a packet to assist individuals appearing pro se in foreclosure cases.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $5,000 to support their Tenants in Foreclosure Project

Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services
Located in Chicago-Serving South and Southwest Suburban Cook County

The Legal Aid Bureau of Metropolitan Family Services’ is the oldest legal services provider to low-income Chicago residents and the second oldest in the country. This year’s IBF funding will go to support the Markham Courthouse Legal Self-Help Center. This center will provide legal assistance to low-income litigants at this courthouse. Visitors to the self-help center have access to Illinois Legal Aid Online’s www.IllinoisLegalAid.org website and trained volunteers are be available to help visitors navigate the website.
FY 10 Grant Awarded: $5,000 to support the Markham Courthouse Legal Self-Help Center.

Life Span
Located in Chicago-Serving North and Northwest Suburbs of Cook County

Life Span was created in 1978 to address domestic violence issues in the north and northwest suburbs and provide victims with counseling and, as of 1990, legal services as well. This year’s IBF funding will go to support Life Span Legal Services in Des Plaines, Illinois. This position provides free legal services to domestic violence victims in the north and northwest suburbs of Chicago. This attorney works in both the Rolling Meadows and Skokie courthouses, providing both criminal court advocacy and civil legal services. This person assists victims in obtaining civil orders of protection and provides legal representation in family law cases.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $7,500 to support Life Span Legal Services in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Neighborhood Law Office
Located in East St. Louis-Serving St. Clair County

The Neighborhood Law Office achieves their mission to “create healthy, safe and strong neighborhoods” by demolishing unsafe and abandoned structures, pressuring the government to enforce property codes, saving homes from foreclosure, advocating for neighborhoods facing eminent domain takings benefiting private developers, helping individuals save their homes in the face of increasing property taxes, and defending consumers in fraudulent creditor cases. By taking these important actions, Neighborhood Law Office hopes that the result will be the renewal of decaying neighborhoods.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $12,500 to support the salary of an attorney

Prairie State Legal Services
Located in Rockford-Serving Boone, Winnebago, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Ogle Counties

Prairie State Legal Services provides legal services to low-income residents in 35 counties in Northern and Central Illinois. Prairie State Legal Services is receiving IBF funding to support a full-time staff attorney based in their Rockford office who serves Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. PSLS has seen an increase in the demand for its services, especially in the area of housing law. This essential position focuses on achieving, through legal representation of low-income individuals, PSLS’s goal of preventing homelessness and aiding families meet their basic human needs. Specifically, this attorney represents low-income tenants to help them keep their public and subsidized housing.
Fy10 Grant Awarded: $10,000 o support full-time staff attorney based in their Rockford office who serves Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties

Public Interest Law Initiative
Located in Chicago-Serving Statewide

Public Interest Law Initiative provides pro bono legal services to low-income clients by helping them build partnerships with pro bono attorneys, interns and Fellows. PILI is receiving IBF funding this year in order to expand its Pro Bono Initiative Project beyond Cook County to greater Illinois. This program is a resource for Illinois law firms and corporations who are looking develop or enhance their pro bono programs. The overall goal of the Pro Bono Initiative is to increase the availability of pro bono legal services in Illinois.
FY10 Grant Awarded: $10,000 to support the Pro Bono Initiative Project


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