Durbin Announces $200,000 For Lawndale Christian Legal Center Community-Based Legal Services

LAWNDALE – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) to discuss the $200,000 in federal funding he secured through Congressionally Directed Spending—more commonly known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill to support and enhance LCLC’s ongoing community-based legal services. 

“Too many of our children have been exposed to tremendous amounts of trauma, which has long term consequences on their ability to succeed and thrive,” said Durbin. “This reality makes the work Lawndale Christian Legal Center does—increasing access to social services, education, employment, and training opportunities for young Chicagoans—all the more essential. Raising awareness about the importance of community-based violence intervention models is critical, and I’ll continue working to help LCLC secure the funding and resources necessary to keep fulfilling their mission.”

“At Lawndale Christian Legal Center, we practice a holistic approach that represents our young clients in court and connects them to social services in the community to provide jobs, education, addiction treatment, mental health support – whatever they need,” said LCLC Executive Director Cliff Nellis. “Our work is violence prevention. We see those benefits when former clients never need our legal services again, but they continue to visit because we're a family. We thank Sen. Durbin for leading this crucial investment in justice and safety in North Lawndale.”

Lawndale Christian Legal Center provides holistic, community-based legal services to clients ages 24 and younger who reside in North Lawndale. LCLC’s holistic team consists of attorneys, case managers, and street outreach workers, striving together to provide zealous legal representation, robust social assessments, and comprehensive treatment plans. LCLC’s legal-social team works with community partners to offer a menu of services so their clients have the support they need to graduate high school, maintain employment, and address additional needs that may be present. LCLC works with each youth until they are stable and free from the justice system.

As part of the FY 2022 Omnibus, Durbin secured $200,000 in Byrne Discretionary Community Project Funding. This project funding aims to help local communities improve the capacity of local justice systems and provide for national support efforts, including training and technical assistance programs strategically targeted to address local needs. In June 2021, Durbin also reintroduced the bipartisan RISE from Trauma Act—which would help children and families who experience trauma cope with their experiences, and prevent this root cause of trauma from leading kids to engage in violence.

Since it opened in 2010, LCLC has primarily served African American males. Just over half of its cases have been in juvenile court, and all of its services are provided free of charge. Outcomes from 2020 include: 89 percent of participants were not rearrested on a new case or technical violation; 73 percent of school-age clients were enrolled in school or a GED program; and 69 percent of non-school-age clients obtained employment or were enrolled in a vocational training program.