Under the direction of Patricia Nix-Hodes, six attorneys offer free legal services to more than 500 clients a year.
During FY20, the Law Project closed 761 cases. Homeless students or unaccompanied youth comprised 72% of our caseload. CCH attorneys also assist homeless adults living in shelters and on the street, including encampments. Ninety-five percent of clients live in Chicago, but CCH attorneys also advise and represent people living in the suburbs and downstate communities.
The Law Project can be reached weekdays on its toll-free helpline: 1 (800) 940-1119.
The helpline is staffed by Case Intake Specialist Christy Savellano.
Under state and federal law, homeless students are entitled to remain at the school they attended before they became homeless, or they may enroll in the public school nearest to where they are now living. Children and teens whose families must double-up in the homes of family or friends to avoid being on the street are recognized as homeless by the U.S. Department of Education. The law intends to protect school stability for children who already coping with the instability of their family’s homelessness.
Working with CCH community organizers, the Law Project provides regular outreach at family, youth and adult shelters. At shelter visits, CCH staff distribute information about the legal rights of homeless people, including protections offered by the 2013 Illinois Homeless Bill of Rights, which CCH helped enact.
CCH runs a mobile legal aid clinic for homeless and unaccompanied youth, staffed by four attorneys and led by Beth Malik, associate director of the Law Project. Youth Futures offers regular outreach through Chicago high schools, street programs, health clinics and shelters, including the Broadway Youth Center, Center on Halsted, Covenant House, Ignite, La Casa Norte, and The Night Ministry.
Youth Futures also co-manages StreetLight Chicago, a free mobile app and website that list resources for homeless and unaccompanied youth.
As part of its enrollment outreach, the Law Project attends back-to-school events in Chicago and the suburbs. The Law Project distributes more than 30,000 pieces of staff-written outreach materials.
Others on the Law Project staff are Staff Attorney Arturo Hernandez, Youth Health Attorney Mary Frances Charlton, Community Lawyer Diane O’Connell, Education Attorney Alyssa Phillips, and Outreach and Case Worker Ali Simmons.
The Law Project receives project-based grant support from The Chicago Bar Foundation, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, Herman & Katherine Peters Foundation, Corp., Pierce Family Foundation, and the Wohlers Family Foundation.
Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic receives project-based support from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, The Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation, an anonymous fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Student Alliance for Homeless Youth, and the VNA Foundation.