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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Applauds Pro Bono, Technology Grants for LAF

Sep 22, 2015
Press Release
Grants Will Help Seniors and Enhance Text Message Access to Legal Services

CHICAGO – Today U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) along with Reps. Danny Davis (IL-07), Tammy Duckworth (IL-08), and Bill Foster (IL-11) announced that LAF (formerly Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago) will receive a 24-month $239,207 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant to help improve services for low-income seniors.

“Legal Assistance Foundation in Chicago does amazing work, helping people living in poverty with free professional legal services,” said Rep. Quigley. “The grant funding that LAF is receiving will help seniors obtain legal services in their time of need, and will expand access to legal information through the use of text messaging. The promise of justice for all is an empty one without access to legal assistance, and I will continue to advocate for grants such as these through my role on the House Appropriations Committee.”

LAF will partner with the Center for Disability and Elder Law to adapt their pro bono workshop to help low-income seniors access important services, including powers of attorney for health care and property, living wills, and transfer on death instruments.

Planning for incapacity is an important legal service for Chicago’s seniors. Current local resources are inadequate to help this growing population. In collaboration with Illinois Legal Aid Online, the new project will create an eLearning curriculum that will be available to any volunteer attorney in Illinois.

"I am excited and pleased to learn the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago has been awarded a FY 2015 Pro Bono Grant to offer a ‘legal checkup’ for advance directives for every low-income senior who contacts LAF for assistance on a legal matter,” said Rep. Davis. “Many seniors in this community do not have access to counseling about advance directives and, in fact, may not even know their basic rights in this area.  I salute LAF for undertaking this initiative. It is consistent with the kind of vision and commitment we have come to expect from the hard working folks at LAF."

“I am greatly appreciative of the Legal Services Corporation for granting a generous award to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago,” said Rep. Duckworth. “The funds will be critical for expanding legal services to senior citizens and increasing access to information through text messaging for low-income people in the Chicagoland-area. The Legal Assistance Foundation has been a needed provider of legal support for residents of my district for many years, and they are very deserving of this award.”

 “I’m pleased to see that the Legal Services Corporation has awarded these two grants to the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago,” said Rep. Foster. “These resources will help LAF continue efforts to provide access to legal services for low-income seniors and develop new technology for people in need of assistance. The Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago's leadership will help many people in Illinois’ Eleventh Congressional District and throughout Chicagoland.”

LAF is one of 15 recipients of LSC’s $4 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients. This is the second year LSC has awarded the funds.

LAF will also receive a Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) of $70,750 from the Legal Services Corporation to integrate SMS texting into the statewide legal services website.  The project will expand access to legal information through the use of text messaging. Funds for the TIG program are appropriated by Congress annually to LSC to support innovations in technology to expand access to justice. LSC’s $4 million TIG program, which is in its 16th year, awarded 36 grants this year.

Rep. Quigley believes how we treat our seniors is a direct reflection of America’s values. Rep. Quigley is huge proponent for developing personal connections with seniors in his district as well as with the organizations that directly serve them. He recently supported the Strengthening Social Security Act, which improves the short-term and long-term health of Social Security by changing the benefit calculation formula the SS Administration uses. He is also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, which for Illinois provides senior citizens with a 50 percent discount on brand name medications, which totals a savings of $9.7 million since its enactment.