LAF has five Task Forces designed to bring staff from across practice groups together to work on expanding and enhancing services to specific populations.
Throughout October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Domestic Violence Task Force hosted a series of events designed to raise awareness around domestic violence, its effects on our clients and ourselves, and ways in which LAF can partner with community organizations also fighting to end DV. The largest event hosted by the Task Force was a roundtable focusing on the intersection between legal aid provision and economic empowerment, on bringing together the pieces of the puzzle that can help survivors of violence rebuild their lives. Representatives from Between Friends, Accion Chicago, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Heartland Alliance joined several LAF experts to discuss the importance of survivors gaining economic power and independence. The presenters had over 70 years of experience between them, and even so, everyone learned something. Important pieces of information, such as the process for receiving crime victim compensation or requesting a credit check without revealing your address (and thereby disclosing your location to your abuser), were shared, and new partnerships were formed. Accion Chicago, a micro-lending organization that also educates on the dangers of payday loans, will now begin referring clients who have taken out usurious loans to LAF.
Developing and strengthening these community connections is a crucial component to providing our clients with high-quality, holistic legal services. LAF is excited to continue facilitating these opportunities to connect and brainstorm with members of the Chicago community.