Community Advocate – Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Program

, ,

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is launching a new, innovative program to address inequities in targeted low income neighborhoods through community lawyering, hiring community residents to work as advocates beside our staff, and providing legal information programming to help low income residents to understand their legal rights and responsibilities. The Community Advocate will help serve as a bridge for better communications between community residents and Program staff, and will help in providing services in locations and in ways that residents will feel comfortable using. 

Under the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Program, Community Advocates will work in collaboration with the local Program Staff Attorney as the Attorney addresses a range of legal issues including issues related to racial inequality, issues that present barriers to residents’ efforts to be self-sufficient, and threats to adequate housing.  The Community Advocate will assist the Program Attorney in providing services to neighborhood residents and will be responsible for ensuring that Program services are available to community residents through various outreach efforts. 

We have full-time Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Community Advocate positions available in our offices in Joliet and Rock Island.

Responsibilities

Among other duties as assigned, the Community Advocate will:

  • Create content for and provide community outreach with an emphasis on churches, social service agencies, community centers, and  local organizations that serve communities of color
  • Assist with creating and conducting a multi-session training program for community residents to learn to be a volunteer community resource to their peers 
  • Identify locations to present legal information or offer intake services and assist in scheduling such activities with the location and the Program Attorney
  • Identify community meetings or events for Program Staff to attend to learn more about community issues and needs
  • Attend training to learn to use online legal information resources to help residents find legal information
  • Work as a team with the Program Attorney including:
    • Assisting clients in obtaining documents needed for their cases
    • Helping clients in arranging for fingerprinting if needed for criminal records relief
    • Assisting clients in identifying training programs that may help qualify them for expedited criminal records relief
    • Assisting clients in finding community resources to meet basic needs
    • Assisting clients in completing paperwork needed for their cases

Qualifications

  • Commitment to improving access to legal aid for neighborhood residents
  • High School Diploma, GED, or equivalent education preferred but not required
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Comfort with public speaking, presenting to small to mid-sized groups, meeting new people and engaging with community organizations
  • Experience working with the community at large and specifically working with diverse populations preferred
  • Proficient with computers and online tools
  • Moderate travel is necessary; valid driver’s license and/or reliable transportation is required

Salary and Benefits

The Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Community Advocate position is a full-time position at 37.5 hours per week. PSLS offers a salary competitive with similar organizations and the Community Advocate position starts at $15 per hour for candidates who meet the minimum qualifications, and increases with each year of relevant experience. PSLS is committed to providing an excellent, comprehensive benefits package to its full-time employees that includes: 

  • Health insurance, including the opportunity to qualify for a wellness credit 
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • 403b Retirement Plan
  • Extensive training and education program
  • PTO that starts at 2.5 weeks/year and increases with additional years worked
  • Paid sick leave
  • 6 weeks of paid parental leave after one year of employment

Application Details

Please indicate “Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Community Advocate” in the subject line and email a letter identifying your office preference and explaining your interest and experience, resume, and three references, to [email protected]

Resumes accepted until positions are filled.

Prairie State Legal Services is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We recruit, employ, pay, and promote qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, expression, or presentation, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or any other legally protected status.

The Organization

Prairie State Legal Services is a not for profit civil legal aid organization that has served northern and central Illinois for more than 40 years. We have a staff of over 175 persons including training and litigation staff with extensive experience. The Justice, Equity and Opportunity Program staff will be part of their local offices and will benefit from the expertise and community connections of the local staff along with program-wide resources. PSLS encourages its staff to use their creativity in developing strategies for reaching our client population and in working with other community agencies. We strive to provide an array of services responsive to the needs of our clients. More information is available on our website at www.pslegal.org.