(Posted June 4, 2019)
The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is seeking an Education Attorney to advocate for the educational rights of students experiencing homelessness in Chicago, suburban Cook County, and the collar counties through direct representation and policy advocacy, while also working to advance racial equity.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 39-year-old systemic advocacy organization. CCH develops campaigns and initiatives to address the causes of homelessness – lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health care and services and lack of jobs paying a living wage. We place much emphasis on organizing and developing leaders within the homeless population to become spokespersons and leaders of our various initiatives. CCH does its work in accordance with its organizational values – collaboration, integrity, strategic action, compassion, and intersectionality. We recognize that homelessness is a problem that stems from systemic racism and that biases and prejudices are embedded in the fabric of society, and thus, also permeate organizations like ours. CCH is committed to advancing racial equity in the workplace, thought the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.
The Law Project is program of CCH that provides free legal services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Law Project’s work includes educational rights for students who are homeless, a mobile legal clinic to provide legal services to homeless youth, including access to health care and civil rights for people living on the street.
- Provide direct legal representation and advocacy to homeless children, youth and families in education-related matters, including enrollment, transportation, school fee waivers and other disputes related to the rights and services entitled to homeless students under state and federal law. The Education Attorney will also assist homeless families with issues related to school discipline, special education, and preschool access and enrollment.
- Conduct regular outreach, trainings, presentations, and legal clinics at various community venues throughout the metro Chicago region, focusing specifically on suburban Cook and the collar counties, including Kane, Will and Lake Counties.
- Develop and implement strategies to address systemic barriers to the enrollment, attendance, retention and success of homeless students in school, including access to preschool and other early childhood programs, and magnet, charter and selective enrollment schools.
- Take a leadership role in the monitoring and implementation of the Salazar v. Edwards consent decree with the Chicago Public Schools.
- Participate in local and state-level coalitions and campaigns to promote policies and laws that reduce barriers to a quality education for homeless students, including developing strategic partnerships and relationships with school and community-based professionals in suburban Cook and the collar counties.
- Provide civil legal services to homeless individuals, youth and families through school and community outreach in suburban Cook and the collar counties, including access to identification documents and public benefits.
- Assist Law Project staff with litigation and other projects as needed.
- Work in collaboration with all CCH departments—CCH believes strongly in interdepartmental collaboration and expects all staff to work in close partnership with the other departments at the organization
- J.D. degree and currently licensed to practice law in Illinois
- Prior work experience in a public interest law setting
- Valid Illinois driver’s license and a willingness to do extensive travel and outreach to suburban Cook County and the collar counties
- Experience or an interest in education, poverty or civil rights law and policy. In addition to professional experience in these areas, experience can include personal experience with homelessness, poverty and other issues affecting our clients
- Interest in or experience working with students and families
- Experience working with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds
- Experience working in communities impacted by poverty and a desire to spend a significant amount of time out in the community providing legal services and engaging in outreach
- Experience and ability in working collaboratively and as part of a team
- Self-direction and self-motivation and the ability to work independently
- Demonstrated strong research and writing skills
- Experience representing individuals in administrative hearings or in litigation
- Knowledge of the state and federal laws that govern the educational rights of homeless students, including the federal Every Students Succeeds Act (“ESSA”)
- Connections to community organizations in the metro Chicago region
$49,000 to $54,000, depending on experience
Excellent benefits, including health, four weeks paid vacation, and a sabbatical program.
Please send resume, cover letter, writing sample and references to Patricia Nix-Hodes at email@example.com. Please put “Education Attorney Application” in the subject line.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless believes that personnel diversity is an organizational strength and recognizes and values the intersectional identities that staff members bring to our organization. We are enriched by the diverse experiences, beliefs, and ways of thinking that employees of different backgrounds bring.
People of color and people who have experienced homelessness or poverty are strongly encouraged to apply. Fair consideration is given to all qualified applicants regardless of criminal record. CCH is committed to providing equal employment consideration without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, military status, marital status, sexual orientation, any other legally protected status.