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40 years

fighting for justice

2019 Annual Report



Times sure have changed since Uptown People's Law Center was incorporated, & our Executive Director Alan Mills first walked through its doors as a law student! Thanks to your support, we are continuing vital fights protecting the rights of prisoners, tenants, and disabled people!

Since 1979...

the % of people in prison in Illinois has more than tripled the average rent in Chicago, adjusted for inflation, has gone up over 182% (much more in Uptown)  Uptown has lost over 5,000 units of low-income housing

Photo of 1970s Uptown backyard courtesy of the U.S. National Archives

Donors like YOU are the reason UPLC has been able to do vital work for 40 years!

YOU have enabled the fight for poor people in the Uptown neighborhood...

YOU have aided the struggle to successfully close Tamms supermax prison...

YOU make sure prisoners and tenants whose rights are being violated have somewhere to turn!

Your support touches lives... Haywood has lived in Uptown for decades. In July 2019, he came to UPLC when he received an eviction notice. Due to multiple physical disabilities, his only income is Social Security benefits. While Haywood is regularly able to find the money necessary to cover his rent, one month he was unable to do so. He received no notice from his landlord, and the following month went to pay his rent for both months. His landlord refused the payment and handed him an eviction notice. Our staff spent months on this case. We worked with the VA, who agreed to assist Haywood in paying the amount not covered by his Social Security benefits. In October 2019, we settled his case, ensuring he is able to remain in his apartment and not lose his housing subsidy. Nancy came to UPLC in late 2018, after she had been denied Social Security benefits. Nancy’s severe osteoarthritis in her right knee, combined with PTSD from a childhood of physical and sexual abuse, prevents her from holding a job. Nancy has begun receiving regular mental health care, and after nearly a year, was approved to receive Social Security disability benefits! Richard was living in a shelter for several years. He was recently denied Social Security benefits when his caseworker brought him to UPLC. Untreated major depressive disorder, severe osteoarthritis, and peripheral neuropathy had led to years of unemployment and substance use. While living at the shelter, he committed himself to staying sober and getting his GED. Richard came to UPLC in 2018 after he could no longer afford the bus fare to attend his classes at Truman College. Our staff worked on his case for over a year, and in October 2019, he finally received Social Security benefits. He's now moved out of the shelter and is returning to school!

Your generosity is changing the prison system! Mental Health Care for Prisoners

Since the settlement of Rasho, UPLC's class action case about mental health treatment in Illinois prisons, the state has made several major changes. Before, there was no planning. Every time someone saw a doctor, they started over, with new diagnoses and medications. Now, every prisoner has a treatment plan. Prisoners with mental illness spend much less time in solitary confinement, when they used to spend up to decades there. Illinois opened a new facility in Joliet, dedicated to treatment of prisoners with a mental illness. It is now providing the best care available in the state. Illinois opened a small hospital for those prisoners with the most serious mental illnesses. Illinois used to be the only state which had no provision at all for hospitalizing people with a mental illness. Instead, they would spend months on suicide watch, or decades in solitary. Illinois has broken ground on a larger hospital in Joliet, to provide care for both prisoners with a mental illness, and prisoners with medical problems so severe that they need to be housed in a hospital setting.

Other Wins!

This year we SETTLED our health care case, which will completely overhaul the way sick, injured, or otherwise physically ailing prisoners are treated in Illinois. We are monitoring the changes that IDOC is making. UPLC is still pursuing our class action case about the overuse and misuse of solitary confinement (which the UN says is torture over 15 days). We are also monitoring our other settled cases, including the treatment of deaf and hard of hearing prisoners to ensure they are provided hearing aids, translators, and more.

ees al F Leg 2% 59.

UPLCÂ in 2019


Expenses Over 89¢ of every dollar you donate goes to UPLC programs & operations!

Fund raisin g 10.8%

Legal Fees 59.2%

Fundraising 10.8%

s Firm Law % 4.4

(unpredictable & take many years x to receive) xx

Law Firms 4.4%

Prog rams & Op e 89.2% rations

nts Gra % 21.1

Grants 21.1%

ing l Giv idua v i d % In 15.3

Individual Giving 15.3%

Programs & Operations 89.2%

UPLC is growing...& YOU are part of that growth! Staff






















UPLC Board of Directors Gregory McConnell President Winston & Strawn LLP Arthur Ellis Treasurer Attorney at Law Malore Medillin Secretary Latham & Watkins James P. Chapman Past President Illinois Institute of Community Law

Kristine Argentine Seyfarth Shaw Ryan Dunigan Winston & Strawn LLP Jessica Frogge Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Sarah Grady Loevy & Loevy Daniel Greenfield MacArthur Justice Center

Robert Hodge Leslie Kuhn-Thayer Sidley Austin Joseph Snapper Mayer Brown Levi Stahl University of Chicago Rachel Steinback Attorney at Law Sean Suber Winston & Strawn LLP Herbert L. Zarov Mayer Brown

UPLC is grateful to all our supporters, including: Alvin H. Baum Family Fund Helen V. Brach Foundation The Chicago Bar Foundation Dentons Harvard Law School Public Service Venture Fund Fellowship

Illinois Bar Foundation Illinois Equal Justice Foundation Illinois Charitable Trust Kirkland & Ellis LLP Latham & Watkins, LLP Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois Polk Bros. Foundation Seyfarth Shaw LLP Sidley Austin Foundation Winston & Strawn, LLP

You make a difference!

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UPLC 2019 Annual Report  

UPLC 2019 Annual Report