Ready to Work Initiative and Mortgage Foreclosure Legal Assistance Grants

The Lawyers Trust Fund has awarded an initial round of two-year grants to legal aid organizations that will provide legal help to individuals seeking to overcome barriers to employment, and legal assistance to homeowners and tenants at risk of displacement due to foreclosure. Under the Ready to Work Initiative, grants totaling $3.0 million will support the work of five organizations that will assist individuals who are unable to land a job due to obstacles like a criminal record, loss of a driver’s license, difficulty obtaining an occupational license, lack of access to transportation, and child care issues. When necessary, the agencies will also provide legal help regarding other issue such as housing, health care, and education. The organizations providing legal assistance will partner with local workforce development agencies and other social service providers to direct their legal help to individuals seeking employment.

Ready to Work Initiative Grants

Organization Services & Location Grant Amount (Two years)
Cabrini Green Legal Aid CGLA will provide representation in expunging and sealing criminal records in collaboration with four Chicago-based social service organizations: the CARA Program, Growing Home, the North Lawndale Employment Network, and the Jane Addams Resource Corporation. $850,000
Illinois Legal Aid Online ILAO will develop online training and resources about the legal barriers to employment that will be available to lawyers, job counselors, and individuals statewide. $100,000
LAF LAF will assist job seekers regarding credentialing and occupational licensing problems, driver’s license issues, credit repair, wage theft, and child care/custody issues in partnership with the National Able Network through locations in Pilsen, Evanston, and Chicago Heights. $600,000
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Land of Lincoln will provide a full range of legal services related to barriers to employment through partnerships with Illinois WorkNet in Champaign and Danville, the Man-Tra-Con Corporation in Marion and Mt. Vernon, and through Rend Lake Community College in Ina.  $700,000
Prairie State Legal Services Prairie State will provide legal help to job seekers regarding criminal records and other barrier issues in collaboration with Career Link (based in Peoria but also serving nearby counties); Lake County Workforce Development; and the Quad County Urban League (based in Aurora and serving DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will counties). $750,000

LTF has committed a total of $4.2 million in Mortgage Foreclosure Legal Assistance Grants to eight organizations. With this funding, they will provide legal representation to individuals and families threatened by the loss of their home due to the threat or filing of a foreclosure action.The legal issues include traditional mortgage foreclosure lawsuits, eviction of tenants renting a unit in a building under foreclosure, as well as the potential loss of a home due to default on a reverse mortgage or property tax delinquency.

Mortgage Foreclosure Legal Assistance Grants

 Organization  Services & Location  Grant Amount (Two years)
 CARPLS Legal Aid CARPLS provides brief legal assistance to Cook County residents provided through its telephone hotline. $150,000
 Chicago Legal Clinic CLC offers legal help to foreclosure respondents through its Chancery Advice Desk at the Daley Center and through a unit focused on substantive representation. $550,000
 Chicago Volunteer Legal  Services CVLS handles foreclosure defense cases referred through court appointments by the Cook County Chancery Court. $380,000
 Illinois Legal Aid Online ILAO provides statewide access to online foreclosure-related legal information and training resources. $20,000
 LAF LAF provide a full range of representation in foreclosure matters to residents of Cook County. $670,000
 Land of Lincoln Legal  Assistance Foundation LOLLAF provides foreclosure representation to clients in Central and Southern Illinois through a telephone hotlne and attorneys based in its five-regional offices. $900,000
 Lawyers Committee for  Better Housing LCBH assists tenants at risk of displacement due to foreclosure. $400,000
 Prairie State Legal Services Prairie State provides brief and full-service representation to clients in the collar counties and throughout its Northern Illinois services area. $1,130,000

Funding for both grant categories is supported by a portion (directed toward Illinois) of the proceeds of a national settlement between a major bank and the US Department of Justice in 2014.

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