Patricia Nix-Hodes, Director of the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), has spent her 26-year legal career fighting for the rights of homeless people. Whether through individual advocacy, impact litigation, or shaping public policy, Patricia’s work has had a positive and often life-changing impact on tens of thousands of people across Illinois.
In her 20-year tenure at CCH, Patricia has litigated many landmark cases, including the influential Salazar v. Edwards class action lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools. Today, Patricia leads a team of six attorneys actively enforcing the consent decree, which established critical rights for homeless students and meaningful standards for CPS and has resulted in over 200,000 homeless students receiving specialized services and resources to enable them succeed in school. In 2015, she led a team of CCH and pro bono attorneys in negotiating a new policy with the City of Chicago to protect the personal property and belongings of people living on the streets. In addition to her systemic work, Patricia has individually represented hundreds of homeless families, students, and unaccompanied youth and adults. She advocates for basic civil and human rights, which include access to school, shelter, housing, employment, and the simple right to be in a public space.
Patricia is always willing take chances and push boundaries to advance social justice and improve access to legal aid for people who are homeless. Her skill and leadership as an attorney are matched by her compassion and dedication to her clients and to the attorneys and staff working with her. A former client states, “Knowing that you can stand up for yourself is empowering, but not having to fight those battles alone gives you strength. Patricia helped ensure that we never had to fight alone.” Patricia’s unwavering dedication to justice for all represents the legal profession at its best. The CBF is proud to honor her with the Morsch Award.