LAF Hiring for New VISTA Position

Service Description : For over 40 years, LAF (formerly Legal Assistance Foundation) has provided free civil legal assistance to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago. Each year LAF’s more than 80 full-time attorneys, volunteers, and staff help resolve legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, unfair evictions and foreclosures, public benefits, immigration, and employment rights. In addition to representing individuals in court and administrative hearings, LAF runs community legal clinics, provides know-your-rights workshops and works with community-based organizations to address emerging issues, as well as persistent and chronic problems that affect low-income families. Their work impacts more than 40,000 people each year.

LAF seeks to fill one VISTA position to work with their Housing Practice Group. They are opening an eviction defense help desk at the 6th Municipal District Court in Markham, Illinois. This court hears 5,000 eviction cases per year, and at least 25% involve low-income tenants who cannot afford an attorney. The goal is to assist at least 800 people per year by providing legal advice, assisting them with self-help materials and legal information, and providing full legal representation in court for clients who are most at risk of losing affordable, subsidized housing.

VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is an AmeriCorps program with an anti-poverty mission.  They serve as capacity-builders for non-profit and governmental organizations. This particular assignment is to help launch and run the help desk and to do outreach on housing issues in the south suburbs.

Member Duties: The VISTA will build capacity at the new Markham eviction defense help desk by creating materials and systems for effective operation of the help desk and to facilitate the help desk attorney’s service to clients seeking legal assistance. The VISTA will utilize a web-based case management system to track client information. The VISTA will interact with help desk clients to connect them with appropriate resources and information. The VISTA will also engage in outreach projects to publicize the help desk and LAF’s services to low-income tenants in the south suburbs. The VISTA must have a car and be willing to drive every weekday morning to Markham and to outreach events throughout south suburban Cook County. Start date will be early-mid February, 2013.

Program Benefits: VISTAs receive a monthly living allowance of $1016, health insurance, and an
end-of-service cash award of $1,500 or an educational award of $5,500. LAF provides: Childcare assistance if eligible,  Choice of Education Award or End of Service Stipend,  Health Coverage,  Living Allowance,  Monthly Transit Pass; Rental Supplement,  Relocation Allowance,  Stipend,  Training.

Service Areas: Community and Economic Development,  Community Outreach,  Hunger.

Skills: Communications,  Leadership,  Public Speaking,  Writing/Editing,  General Skills.

If interested in a year of VISTA service with LAF’s new Markham Eviction Help Desk, please email your resume and cover letter directly to Cynthia Sadkin, LAF’s Director of Client and Community Services.