Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) Initiative Receives National Award Recognition
CCLAHD awarded National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) 2021 Award of Excellence in Homeless Coordination and Assistance
(COOK COUNTY, IL) — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today that the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) initiative has been awarded the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) 2021 Award of Excellence in Homeless Coordination and Assistance.
“I’m proud to see CCLAHD celebrated nationally by NACCED as an example of a successful and impactful initiative,” said President Preckwinkle. “The pandemic dramatically impacted Cook County residents and exacerbated existing inequities. When you look at this issue against the backdrop of the financial hit many are taking, we understood we needed to step in and provide solutions for Cook County residents.”
CCLAHD is an innovative county-wide initiative that was formed to help residents resolve eviction, foreclosure, consumer debt, and tax deed issues. The first program under the initiative, the Early Resolution Program (ERP), launched in November 2020. The ERP provides free legal aid, mediation services, and connections to other resources including rental assistance for tenants and landlords dealing with evictions, property owners who are behind on their mortgage payments or property taxes, and creditors or debtors with issues related to consumer debt.
With substantial in-kind contributions from the County, the Circuit Court, the Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF), and other program partners, the program has already successfully served more than 15,000 County residents in need. CCLAHD was also recognized as a national model at a recent White House summit.
“Congratulations to the Bureau of Economic Development for receiving the NACCED Award of Excellence in Homeless Coordination and Assistance, which is very well-deserved recognition,” said Bob Glaves, Executive Director of The Chicago Bar Foundation. “We are proud to partner with BED, the County, the Circuit Court, and all the other partners involved in CCLAHD, which continues to make a real difference for the people of Cook County who have been particularly hard hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic.”
The County partnered with the Circuit Court of Cook County, CBF, the City of Chicago, and eight community partners to launch this program utilizing CARES Act funding from the federal government. The Chicago Bar Foundation played a critical role in the program development phase and has continued acting as lead coordinator between partner organizations and government offices. Community partners include:
- CARPLS Legal Aid
- 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 of Metropolitan Family Services
“I am thrilled CCLAHD has been recognized with this honor,” said Xochitl Flores, Bureau Chief of Economic Development. “We recognize the critical importance of allowing residents to remain in their homes and the County remains committed to providing eviction prevention and housing stabilization services to the residents of suburban Cook County.”
County officials have committed to continued support for CCLAHD programs after the pandemic has passed. A combination of federal, county and philanthropic funds will provide ongoing support.
“I am grateful for the hard work and meaningful community partnerships that created CCLAHD. CCLAHD’s mission to support residents from all corners of Cook County to remain housed and out of bankruptcy will indeed especially benefit low- and moderate-income households and people of color most impacted by the pandemic. I am humbled by this recognition from the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) as CCLAHD continues to be a model legal-aid program for our national recovery,” said Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton.
Suburban and city residents of Cook County may access CCLAHD programs free of charge regardless of income status.
To learn more about the Early Resolution Program, and future CCLAHD programs, please visit www.cookcountylegalaid.org or call 855-956-5763
The National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) was established as an affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo) in 1978 to develop the technical capacity of county government practitioners that administer federally-funded affordable housing, community development, and economic development programs benefiting low- and moderate-income households.