Legal Council for Health Justice (LCHJ) uses the power of the law to secure health, dignity, and stability for people facing illness and disability. The agency was founded in 1987 as AIDS Legal Council Of Chicago to respond to the urgent legal and human needs of persons impacted by HIV and AIDS. In 2014, the agency broadened its focus beyond single-disease advocacy to address discrimination, disadvantage, and disparities in health, wealth, and well-being across the lifespan of vulnerable populations. We provide highly specialized “legal care” in partnership with health and community providers to protect individual rights and maximize access to health, education, and a responsible safety net. Our work targets people impacted by chronic, disabling and stigmatizing health and social conditions to lead fulfilling lives, reach their self-determined goals, and secure and plan their futures.
Today, the agency houses medical-legal partnership (MLP) programs in partnership with over a dozen health and human services providers across Cook County. MLPs are evidence-based legal aid programs that provide flexible and individualized services in partnership with patient-clients and their healthcare and community providers. Our MLPs serve individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS; adults who are homeless (or at risk of homelessness) with severe mental illness; low-income children and youth with complex health conditions including developmental disabilities; and senior citizens. This project expands our reach to justice-involved populations with severe mental illness. Each year, these projects connect