Access Living is unique among Centers for Independent Living in its capacity to implement legal strategies to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Its Legal Team enforces federal, state and local civil rights laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and related laws, which prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. Access Living has also been deeply involved in Olmstead Enforcement in Cook County and Chicago. Attorneys and legal assistants counsel persons with disabilities about their civil rights and provide representation in cases involving important disability rights issues.
The Team currently focuses on three types of cases:
(1) Fair housing matters involving reasonable accommodations/modifications or new construction;
(2) Appeals of Home Services Program (HSP) service reductions and terminations; and
(3) Matters involving equal access to government services, programs, and activities (for example, cases that challenge Illinois’ unnecessary and wrongful institutionalization of people with disabilities). Review Access Living’s recent and historic cases .
The Team’s work consists of four principle components:
(1) Counseling persons with disabilities about their civil rights and empowering them to advocate for themselves in fighting civil rights violations;
(2) Advocating for systemic change using non-litigation strategies that advance or protect civil rights protections for persons with disabilities;
(3) Representing persons with disabilities in cases implicating important civil rights protections and/or systemic civil rights issues; and
(4) Educating the general public, including government officials, housing providers, and consumers about the civil rights of persons with disabilities.
- Ken Walden
- Managing Attorney - Fair Housing
- Legal Intake Civil Rights
- Initiate a case on Fair Housing or Nursing Home issues