Uptown People’s Law Center is hiring a full-time Outreach Coordinator. Please share widely with people in the Chicago area.
UPLC is a small nonprofit legal organization located in Uptown. We represent disabled adults seeking Social Security disability benefits, tenants experiencing problems with their landlords (including illegal eviction), and people being held in Illinois prisons whose rights have been violated while in prison. (We do not do innocence work/wrongful convictions, or appeal people’s sentences.)
In the past two years, UPLC has expanded its practice to include a program for enforcement of the Just Housing Amendment (JHA). The JHA is a law adopted by Cook County in 2019, which prohibits discrimination against people in housing based solely on their records of prior involvement with the criminal legal system. While this law has now been in place for several years, many landlords do not know about the law, do not understand the law, or simply ignore it. UPLC, in line with our dual areas of work supporting people in Illinois prisons and protecting tenants’ rights in Chicago, has been one of the leading agencies enforcing the JHA. As part of a grant-funded project, we are expanding our JHA outreach from Chicago’s North Side to Englewood and nearby neighborhoods as well.
In the past several months UPLC has also expanded our Social Security program to include more robust “in-reach” to people in Illinois’ prisons within six months of their release, who may be eligible for disability benefits. The goal of this expansion is to help people in the reentry process by moving the disability benefits application along faster.
About the Position
Work hours would normally be Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm, with a half-hour lunch, approximately 35 hours per week. However, community organization meetings and know your rights trainings may occasionally have to be scheduled in the evenings and weekends. Therefore, some non-traditional work hours may be required.
Flex time and remote work options are occasionally available; however, in-person attendance is generally required due to the nature of the work.
Salary depends on experience and starts at $37,000/year. UPLC provides up to $300 a month towards health benefits (depending on personal costs, and untaxed if you get BCBS insurance through UPLC), as well as 2% of your salary to a Simple IRA (regardless of employee contribution), and generous paid time off to its employees.
This position will work in all of UPLC legal areas, assisting program staff in reaching a more diverse client community and providing education and support to individuals and families who are impacted by criminal legal involvement. The tasks include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Lead all outreach efforts, including establishing partnerships with appropriate organizations, coalitions, and other networks (JHA, Reentry)
- Leverage existing relationships and form new connections with organizations as appropriate in order to meet program goals (JHA/Reentry)
- Educate potential partners on the purpose of partnering, the goals for the partnership, the benefits of the program, and the expectations and specifics of the project (JHA/Reentry)
- Planning community know-your-rights forums, including follow-up with other staff and/or partners related to aspects of the plan (JHA, other clinics)
- Recruit organizations to participate in know-your-rights trainings and related outreach (JHA, Reentry, other)
- Organize and run meetings in conjunction with other UPLC staff, as needed to ensure partners are supported in their efforts to educate the community (JHA, Reentry, other)
- Serve as main point of contact for partner organizations and answer questions, troubleshoot issues or concerns, and proactively address areas of need as needed (JHA/Reentry/Prison)
- Serve as liaison between partner organizations and UPLC, and provide regular updates and reports (JHA/Reentry/Prison)
- Establish outreach strategies and the use of testers to properly engage target populations, consult with partner organizations for input to inform outreach plans, execute outreach plans with partner organizations (JHA)
- Provide training to testers and other volunteers and partner staff as needed to ensure understanding of the project and to provide technical assistance (JHA)
- Assist with intakes and coordination of services for people who are released
- Assist clients with SNAP/Medicaid/IDs
Prisoners' Civil Rights
- Take lead on returning calls and emails from family members
- Review and respond to letters from prisoners
Importantly: community organizing, legislative advocacy, employment discrimination, parole revocation, “good time” or sentence calculations, and helping individuals find housing and/or employment are not part of this position.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Excellent communications skills, both written and oral
- Experience with public speaking
- Experience working with diverse populations, including low-income people and those who have experienced imprisonment
- Ability to work independently
- Ability to set and meet deadlines
- Experience with creating presentations
- Prior involvement with the criminal legal system
- Experience working and/or living in the Englewood community
- Experience working with community organizations, including social service agencies and grassroots organizations
- Project management experience
- The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- The ability to perform precise or skilled physical activities (e.g., keyboarding and operating a computer).
- The ability to generate audible communication (e.g., conversing on a telephone, participating in a meeting) in a manner that should be readily recognized and understood.
- The ability to successfully engage in non-technical work activities (e.g,. read email, file documents).
- The ability to successfully identify and understand audible communications.
Requires frequent travel within Chicago. Ability to drive preferred, but not required.
Uptown People’s Law Center is a nonprofit legal clinic located on the North Side of Chicago. Our work is focused on three areas: representing disabled people who have been denied Social Security disability benefits; representing tenants who are facing eviction, or other issues relating to their tenancy; and representing prisoners in civil rights lawsuits.
UPLC offers an entrepreneurial environment with a small staff who are passionate about UPLC’s mission. The dress code is casual (except for court appearances and certain meetings/events) and we are conveniently located a short walk from the Wilson Red Line stop. Full-time at UPLC is typically 37.5 hours per week, including half-hour lunches daily.
UPLC has a long history of commitment to engaging with social justice work, and values the diversity of perspectives its workers can bring to the table. We have begun working to formalize our commitment to diversity/equity/inclusion and to integrate it more explicitly into our work and office culture. We look forward to this position's input and participation in that work.
In addition, we as an office have extensive experience providing accommodations as necessary in order to establish equity in our working environment. If you are interested in discussing accommodations for this position or for the interview process, please feel free to include your query with your application. We do not require a disclosure of disability in order to extend an accommodation.
Send a cover letter and resume to email@example.com. Please include “Outreach Coordinator” in the email subject line. Please, no phone calls, emails, visits, or social media contact regarding the position.
UPLC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, and/or former prisoners to apply. Staff members are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, HIV status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction, in accordance with federal and state law.