As state and federal moratoriums on evictions are expiring, the free services offered through the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) program have never been more important.
Earlier this month, the CBF joined several of our CCLAHD partners from the County and Circuit Court for a press conference to highlight that the free services in the program are available to both landlords and tenants, and to encourage landlords whenever possible to take advantage of these resources before filing cases in Court. The County Press Release below has more details about the press conference and resources available, and the CBF remains proud to be one of the lead partners in this program at such a critical time for our community:
(COOK COUNTY, IL) — Today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined representatives from the office of Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, Chicago Bar Foundation Executive Director Bob Glaves and community leaders to remind the public about a critical resource for landlords and tenants as federal and local eviction moratoriums expire. Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) is a county-wide initiative that helps residents resolve eviction, foreclosure, debt, and tax deed issues.
“Now that federal and state moratoriums on evictions have expired, we urge landlords to pursue every alternative to filing for an eviction when facing issues with tenants,” said President Preckwinkle. “Housing insecurity and homelessness have been shown to lead to food insecurity, domestic violence, mental illness, preventable health conditions, and substance abuse. Let’s work together to keep our communities healthy and our most vulnerable residents housed as we look toward recovery.”
The federal moratorium set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local eviction moratoriums put in place by the State of Illinois both expired on July 31. Landlords can file eviction papers within the Cook County Courts beginning on August 1 and all aspects of evictions can move forward on September 1, meaning judges can order evictions and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office can enforce orders.
“The court system should be a last resort for landlords seeking to resolve tenant issues,” said Chief Judge Evans. “CCLAHD exists to help landlords and residents efficiently reach a resolution that’s fair for everyone involved. Before filing, reach out and consider all of your options.”
In Cook County, filing and serving an eviction can cost landlords upwards of $700 not counting attorney fees. Soliciting new tenants for an empty apartment after an eviction can cost an average of $2,500. The cost to the community is substantial as well – studies show that homelessness costs taxpayers between $30,000 and $50,000 for every person living without shelter.
“We know the burden on landlords is great. That is why Cook County is here to support landlords to keep doing what they do best – provide housing,” said Commissioner Scott Britton. “CCLAHD provides an alternative path for landlords that saves everyone time, energy and money.”
Through a network of community partners, CCLAHD provides free legal assistance, counseling, pre-court mediation and case management for residents and landlords dealing with eviction issues. Services are available in a number of languages including Spanish and Polish. CCLAHD can also help connect landlords to rental assistance resources through community partners. CCLAHD partners include:
• Center for Conflict Resolution
• Center for Disability & Elder Law
• Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
• Greater Chicago Legal Clinic
• Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing
• Legal Aid Chicago
• Legal Aid Society
“CCLAHD’s network of outstanding legal aid and community partners has already served thousands of landlords and tenants and helped negotiate hundreds of settlement agreements,” said Chicago Bar Foundation Executive Director Bob Glaves. “When landlords and residents come to the table to negotiate in good faith, everyone wins.”
Landlords and residents interested in learning more about or connecting to CCLAHD are invited to call 855-956-5763 Monday through Friday from 9am to 4:30pm or visit www.cookcountylegalaid.org.
Press coverage for the program included: