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Organization Information

Legal Aid & Defender Association: Serving the Legal Needs of Low-income Communities


Homelessness, incarceration, illness, denial of disability and veterans benefits, unemployment, and abuse are often products of vulnerable populations' limited access to justice. Help us protect the disenfranchised by expanding access to counsel.

Real Life

Having been disabled during his military service, Tom used a subsidized housing voucher specifically for veterans to rent what he thought would be both an affordable and reasonable apartment. However, he soon discovered that his new home was infested with roaches and bed bugs, and both the toilet and stove were broken. And yet, the landlord consistently refused to work with Tom to fix these unlivable conditions. When Tom tried to find a better apartment, his landlord wrongfully evicted him, costing Tom his housing voucher and subsequently forcing him to live on the streets. Homeless, Tom sought refuge in Chicago's loading docks and shelters.

Dennericka, a local legal aid attorney, successfully got Tom's housing voucher reinstated; however, she was unable to reach Tom with the good news. After all, he had neither a phone number nor mailing address. Undeterred, Dennericka drove across the city searching for Tom. She left her business card for him in shelters and the VA Hospital, as well as with other homeless individuals. Just before the new voucher expired, Dennericka found Tom, enabling him to sleep with a roof over his head again. To this day, Dennericka stands with Tom to ensure that he can live in dignity and receive the protection he deserves for his service to our country.