Legal Aid Chicago focuses on cases that protect safe and affordable housing for tenants and homeowners, including preventing eviction or termination from subsidized housing, challenging discrimination, enforcing rights for tenants in subsidized housing, defending homeowners facing foreclosure and more.
Julia is responsible, capable and hard-working, so when her grandmother began to decline, Julia traded in her plans to attend medical school to move home and take care of her. For 20 years, she cared for her grandmother who’d lovingly raised her. She cooked, cleaned, took her to appointments and filled out all of the necessary paperwork to get her grandmother into subsidized housing. Over the years, as her grandmother’s health worsened, Julia gave up her home to move in and give her grandmother more attentive care.
On a sad day in June, Julia’s grandmother passed away. Devastated by the loss, and dealing with her own health, Julia’s health began to fade, forcing her to use the walker that she’d previously used for her grandmother.
“It was a tough time,” Julia said. “My doctors told me that my spine was out of alignment and that the stress from my grandmother’s death and making arrangements was attacking my body.”
Julia stopped working while simultaneously mourning the loss of the woman who raised her. It was during this time that Julia was hit with another blow. A mere two months later, she received a notice to vacate her apartment citing unpaid rent.
Julia was shocked and nervous. “I’d never missed a payment,” she said.
Taking advice from friends, Julia reached out to Legal Aid Chicago where a housing attorney took her case. After much back and forth he discovered that once her grandmother died, her subsidy had been reduced because only one person was living in the apartment, but no one had told her. She continued to make the payments on time and the first indication she had of the problem was when she got an eviction notice. An agreement was made with the Chicago Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher that ensured that Julia could afford to stay in her home and take the time needed to heal.
Today, Julia is healthy and happy, working behind the scenes at a radio station in Bronzeville. Julia’s smile lights up the room, giving no indication of the challenges she faced just a few short years ago.
“Legal Aid Chicago gave me a chance to get on my feet and I will always be grateful.”