|Prairie State Legal Services receives grant from Galesburg Community Foundation
Funds will provide legal assistance for Knox County housing issues.
A $2,500 grant from the Galesburg Community Foundation will help Prairie State Legal Services provide legal assistance to Knox County households at risk of homelessness. Prairie State, a nonprofit law firm serving 36 counties in Northern and Central Illinois, was among 42 nonprofits receiving grant awards, which the foundation announced on November 12, 2018.
“I wish to thank the Galesburg Community Foundation for its consideration in awarding this grant to Prairie State Legal Services,” said Galesburg office Managing Attorney Denise Conklin. “Access to safe housing is one of our organization’s priorities and this grant allows Prairie State to better serve Knox County residents.”
Prairie State’s grant is designated for its Galesburg office’s Housing Advocacy Program, which will provide legal advice and/or representation to affected Knox County households. Residents may apply for services by calling the Galesburg office at 309-343-2141 or 800-331-0617, through referrals from community agencies, or visiting the office at 311 East Main Street, Suite 302.
In addition, a staff attorney is present at the Knox County Courthouse during the eviction court call, which further expands access to legal help with the goal of preventing families from homelessness due to eviction. Examples of potential Knox County cases include families that are facing the loss of a housing subsidy that makes housing affordable and placing the family at risk of long-term homelessness, and families who are forced to live in substandard housing that may be a health risk for occupants.
During this process, staff attorneys interview eligible applicants and evaluate the applicants’ circumstances to determine whether the facts and law offer a potential legal remedy. Staff members provide clients with legal advice specific to their situation so that they can make an informed decision. Staff members also provide legal representation based on resources available when that representation will have an important impact on the outcome of the legal matter.
Another component of this program is Prairie State’s Tenant Education Project, which works with area landlords to conduct outreach and education to potential tenants regarding housing law and landlord/tenant rights. In exchange for attending this presentation, participating landlords provide tenants with incentives such as discounted first month’s rent or security deposits.
Prairie State’s Galesburg office serves residents of Henderson, Knox, McDonough, and Warren Counties.
With 12 office locations serving 36 counties in Northern and Central Illinois, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. works to ensure equal access to justice and fair treatment under the law by providing legal advice and representation, advocacy, education, and outreach that serve to protect basic human needs and enforce or uphold rights. It provides free legal services to low-income persons and people age 60 and over who have serious civil legal problems and need legal help to solve them.