BREAKING THROUGH ROCK BOTTOM

Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Former PILI Intern Prevents Homelessness

Daniel Parrish, Brinks Gilson & Lione

Rochelle used to live in a two-flat with her parents. Her mother and father lived on the top floor, and Rochelle and her children rented the bottom floor with the help of a housing voucher from the Chicago Housing Authority. For the most part, all was well.

Then, in one sudden turn of events, Rochelle lost everything.

It started when her father died. Rochelle’s mother couldn’t afford the rent without him, so she moved out of the building. In violation of the lease and CHA rules, the landlord demanded Rochelle pay her parents’ rent in addition to her own. When Rochelle couldn’t pay, the landlord evicted her.

Rochelle then tried using her voucher to move into a new apartment. The CHA learned about the eviction and used that as a reason to take her subsidy away. Without her voucher and without a place to stay, Rochelle and her children became homeless.

Rochelle filed a pro se petition in Chancery Court to challenge the CHA. Without an attorney, she didn’t stand a chance. But that’s when her luck started to turn.

Judge Mullen appointed CVLS to represent Rochelle through the Access to Justice Program, and we placed the case with Daniel Parrish of Brinks, Gilson, & Lione. A former Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) intern at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, Dan was the perfect fit.

Dan quickly realized the landlord had used a faulty lease termination notice and filed a petition to vacate. He then consolidated the eviction case into the chancery case, where Judge Mullen vacated the old eviction order and dismissed and sealed the eviction case. With the eviction gone, CHA reinstated Rochelle to the voucher program.

Rochelle’s life fell apart due to something out of her control. Dan, through the power of pro bono, started putting the pieces back together.