Job Description: The Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless seeks a candidate to sponsor for an Equal Justice Works fellowship beginning in the fall of 2024 to expand legal services for those experiencing street homelessness and to provide legal services in housing law while working to advance racial equity.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is a 43-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, through the work of our racial equity committee, and through the campaigns and initiatives we choose.
The Law Project is a program of CCH that provides free legal services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Law Project’s work includes educational rights, public benefits, criminal records relief, family law, access to identification documents and other areas of legal need.
A successful fellowship candidate will:
- Develop a project that will address the unmet legal needs of individuals and families experiencing homeless, including:
- Advocating for people experiencing street homelessness to be connected to permanent housing opportunities
- Monitor street cleanings and other actions in locations where people are living on the street to ensure that people’s property and rights are protected
- Providing other legal services to those experiencing street homelessness, including access to identification documents and public benefits, including social security disability benefits; and
- Housing advocacy, including representing individuals at-risk of homelessness in eviction proceedings and other landlord-tenant issues to promote housing stability.
- Other advocacy activities, including know-your-rights presentations.
- Ensure the project recognizes and articulates the racial disparities and overrepresentation of Black and Brown people in the population of those experiencing homelessness and the eviction systems and the urgency and importance of addressing those inequities.
- Conduct regular legal clinics and community outreach at locations where people experience street homelessness, shelters, drop-in centers and other community venues to connect with clients and to further the goals of the project.
- Develop and implement strategies to address systemic issues and barriers related to the project.
- Create public education and advocacy materials related to the project, including materials inclusive of non-English speakers and for individuals who use different mediums to obtain information.
- Participate in local and state-level coalitions and campaigns to promote policies and laws to reduce barriers to accessing housing and services for individuals experiencing homelessness, including street homelessness.
- Develop and conduct trainings for community members, attorneys and other professionals.
- Work to implement racial equity and trauma-informed care within their practice.
- 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. or expected to receive a J.D. by the spring of 2024 with plans to take the Illinois Bar Exam in the summer of 2024
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice, racial equity and public interest law
- Experience working with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds
- Experience or a commitment to 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
- Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and work to advance racial equity
- Self-direction and self-motivation and the ability to work independently
- Strong research and writing skills
To Apply: Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your proposed project, including why the issue is important to you and how the proposed project will a) address an unmet legal need among people experiencing homelessness, b) advance racial equity, c) center the voices of people experiencing homelessness, and d) enhance and complement CCH’s current work. Please send all fellowship application materials to Patricia Nix-Hodes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Fellowship” in the subject line.
Application deadline is Friday, August 25, 2023.
All employees should be up to date on vaccination series as indicated by the CDC. The currently approved vaccines under this policy are: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. No vaccine shall be designated unless and until it is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization. Fully vaccinated means at least two weeks after the final shot in the required timing and dosage (one shot for Johnson & Johnson, two shots for Moderna with 28 days between shots, and two shots for Pfizer with 21 days between shots).
Prospective employees will be expected to comply with this policy within two months of accepting their offer of employment.
The 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.