One Financial Crisis Away from Eviction
TJ, his wife and two teenage sons, moved to a professionally managed high-rise building in Hyde Park, to be close to the Level 1 public high school where one of their sons is enrolled.
The rent for their 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment was $1,750 plus an “amenities fee” that covered all utilities of $150 a month. “It was a tight, shoestring budget,” TJ said. “But we knew we could make it work.”
But TJ and his family fell behind on rent after his wife’s insurance company denied what they expected to be a routine short-term disability claim for partial-knee replacement surgery. They were out several months of lost salary, nearly $5,000. They received an eviction notice from the building owner and management company and found themselves in eviction court.
A legal aid organization referred the family to Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, which screened them and was able to enroll them in the Eviction Diversion Program. The Program is a pilot to help low- to moderate-income Chicagoans avoid potential eviction judgments by facilitating mutually beneficial agreements between tenants and landlords, and in the process unburdening courts and shelters.
The family received a check via the EDP in December to help pay off their back rent. That allowed them to stay in their home instead of apartment hunting at the holidays, or worse.
“It’s been scary,” TJ said. “We are like a lot of people out there – practically no savings, a little 401k. When you think of the potential of someone going homeless, we are not necessarily what you see.”
To learn more about Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, check out their recently released eviction portal.