CHICAGO, IL – (November 9, 2015) – The Loretto Hospital and PCC
Community Wellness Center (PCC) has partnered with the Lawyers’
Committee for Better Housing (LCBH), a nonprofit law firm and community-based
housing organization that integrates legal representation and advocacy
into a patient’s medical treatment program, to form a Medical-Legal
Partnership (“MLP”) called
Healthy Housing Chicago.
The goal of
Healthy Housing Chicago is to address and resolve health-harming living/housing conditions and
challenges that are impacting The Loretto Hospital and PCC patients. Such
conditions include, but are not limited to: bed bugs, mold, lead paint,
and utility shut off.
Recent reports by Leapfrog Group, Washington, D.C. that rates hospitals
nationwide to help steer healthcare workers towards providing a higher
quality health care, has Loretto now ranking as a top provider of quality
of care, especially in areas of safety, with its recent grade of ‘A’
on October 28, 2015. The new partnership is another strategy by Loretto
and its overall safety practices to continue offering exemplary care and
treatment in a safe, holistic environment to its patients.
Although the City of Chicago has established building ordinances to penalize
landlords who fail to provide safe and nonhazardous living conditions
for tenants, there still exists buildings that cause a number of health
issues for tenants living in them. The alliance with LCBH will extend
free legal and support services to Loretto patients whose medical condition
may be the result of renting an unhealthy apartment or home that is contributing
to the patient’s health issues.
“Collaborating with The Loretto Hospital just makes perfect sense because
the location of the hospital provides easy access for patients who may
be in need of attorney assistance or representation but cannot access
legal services located in the Loop,” said Kira Wilpone-Welborn,
a medical-legal partnership fellow and on-site attorney at Loretto Hospital.
According to a recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor
air pollutants can cause a host of acute illnesses and/or minor health
symptoms that can mimic the common flu or allergies, and are sometimes
categorized as sick building syndrome. Indoor pollutants such as: mold;
lead-based paint; pest infestations; the presence of asbestos in insulation;
glue in carpet or ceiling and floor molding; lead in plumbing fixtures
and formaldehyde in paneling or cabinets, are some of the hazards that
can be linked to rhinitis, nasal congestion, recurring asthma symptoms,
cough, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, fever and even severe lung disease.
“Many renters may be unsuspecting victims of medical problems, for
instance recurring asthma attacks can be caused by conditions in their
home. So when a patient keeps coming to see the doctor for their asthma,
and no matter how many new inhalers the doctor prescribes, when they go
home the issue will reoccur. So we have to hold landlords accountable
to rectify the problems within the property that are causing tenants to
become ill,” Wilpone-Welborn said.
There are approximately 20 hospitals or healthcare organizations in Illinois
that participate in the free medical-legal partnership program. In addition
to receiving free legal services, The Loretto Hospital patients will have
full access to all of LCBH’s programs and services which include:
Eviction Defense Program, legal representation to renters facing eviction,
including many elderly, disabled, or single mothers; Affordable Housing
Preservation Program (AHPP), for individuals living in buildings with
building code violations; the Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP), provides
pre-eviction assistance to renters whose utilities have been illegally
shut off, have been locked out of their homes by the landlord, or experienced
other serious life-threatening issues; the Tenants in Foreclosure Intervention
Project (TFIP); and the Fair Housing Project (FH) of LCBH.
According to Wilpone-Welborn, even when tenants face an eviction, it may
be the result of a medical issue. “Sometimes people have to choose
between buying their medication opposed to paying their rent or utilities.
So our overall goal is to ensure that patients have the civil legal help
For more information about The Loretto Hospital, its medical services and its
new patient legal services, contact Tanesha Daniels, Chief Experience
Officer, at 773-854-5095.
About The Loretto Hospital
The Loretto Hospital is a not-for-profit, community-based hospital located
in Austin, the largest community in Chicago. Loretto is the only hospital
in the Austin community and is the largest nongovernment employer in the
Austin community. The hospital has more than 600 staff, comprising of
170 physicians and 300 nursing professionals. Although the largest percentage
of the hospital’s patients resides in Austin and Garfield Park,
neighboring suburban communities also utilize Loretto as a healthcare
resource. For more information, please visit