The Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund partners with The Bail Project and Lawndale Christian Legal Center to support public safety through apartments that stabilize lives.
CHICAGO (July 20, 2022) People who leave Cook County Jail on individual-recognizance bonds can be connected to affordable housing through a partnership announced today by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, The Bail Project and Lawndale Christian Legal Center.
A safe, stable home provides the foundation that many people need to break the cycle of arrest and incarceration. Housing insecurity can lead to higher rates of arrest. In addition, housing is the most difficult social need to meet, given the financial cost associated with the number of people who need it and the amount of time they must have an affordable home until employment is secured and sustained.
Rental units will be available to people who have incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income and who are released on individual-recognizance bonds after a bail hearing in the Circuit Court of Cook County. People released on individual recognizance-bonds (known as “i-bonds”) do not have to pay any money to leave jail to reside in the community while their case awaits trial.
Through this partnership, at least 50 clients of Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) will be eligible this year for rental assistance provided by the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund (CLIHTF). CLIHTF pays the majority of monthly rents to landlords upfront in quarterly lump sums.
“The Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund is honored to continue its work and serve as the Local Administering Agent for the City of Chicago’s funding allocations under the Illinois Rental Housing Support Program,” said CLIHTF Executive Director Annissa Lambirth-Garrett. “Through our partnership with community-based agencies and Chicago landlords, over 3,000 households benefit from rental assistance.”
Landlords interested in participating may visit lclc.net/housing to learn more.
“Many young men and women who we support often lack a stable home. We have worked with families who have 10 people living in a two-bedroom apartment. The children sleep in a closet. This leads to emotional distress in and out of the home, perpetuating the cycle of arrest and incarceration,” said Amy Campanelli, LCLC Vice President of Restorative Justice. “Providing our clients with a home will help them lead productive lives that their children will see every day. We appreciate the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s investment in family stability and violence prevention in Chicago.”
With the passage of the Pretrial Fairness Act in Illinois last year, cash bail will be eliminated statewide on January 1, 2023. To support this effort, The Bail Project invested $2.9 million in Chicago last December to pilot its national model – Community Release with Support – in collaboration with Lawndale Christian Legal Center. The program links people coming out of jail to services for employment, housing, mental health, substance use, violence prevention, medical care and other social needs. It also supplements the court’s existing court-reminder service with additional court reminders, and it provides free transportation services for clients to attend court dates.
“By this time next year, cash bail in Illinois will be a thing of the past. It is critical that we invest in people and communities now to ensure the success of these reforms and address the root causes that drive crime and incarceration in the first place,” said Matthew McFarland, Project Director for Community Release with Support at The Bail Project. “We are grateful to the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund for its commitment to being a part of the solution.”
Clients choose to opt into Community Release with Support, and LCLC staff meet with potential clients in the jail before their bail hearings to ask if they would like to engage in services. Referrals also come from the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.
Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund (the “Trust Fund”) was created in 1989 to provide rental assistance to help very low-income residents and, specifically, households with a gross income at or below 30% of the metropolitan area median income (the “AMI”). As the largest state- and city-funded subsidy program in the United States, the Trust Fund provides housing resources throughout the City of Chicago to assist low-income households in obtaining affordable housing. Households assisted include the working poor, veterans, the disabled, seniors and others living at or below 30% of the AMI. By design, at least half of the households benefitting from a Trust Fund rent subsidy earn less than 15% of the AMI (e.g., $13,980 for a family of four in 2021). Individuals and families are better able to develop and achieve goals, and children have better educational outcomes when they have a place to call home.
The Bail Project is a national nonprofit that combats mass incarceration by paying bail for people in need, enabling them to return home to their families and communities while awaiting court dates. We provide an immediate lifeline to thousands of people each year while working to create a more just and equitable pretrial system, one that eliminates cash bail and the need for bailouts in the first place.