Legal Services


What legal services does Access Living offer?

Access Living works to make sure people with disabilities know their rights and are not discriminated against. Our team works to influence and inform policy so the needs of people with disabilities are considered and met.

Access Living’s civil rights team offers four types of services for people with disabilities in Chicago

  • Disability discrimination cases – Our cases focus on Chicagoans who can’t get the services they need or are denied access to something because they have a disability. These are typically violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
  • Consulting and analysis – Our civil rights team supports the policy, advocacy, and community organizing initiatives of Access Living when they require legal actions or demands.
  • ADA and Fair Housing Act Training – We offer training classes about what is covered under the ADA and the FHA.
  • Fair housing tests – We send people with and without disabilities to rental units in Chicago. We compare their rental experiences to determine if discrimination took place. This can sometimes lead to legal action. 

More about the cases we take (and the ones we don’t)

We represent people with disabilities and organizations in Chicago facing violations of the ADA or the FHA who have been denied access to:

  • Housing
  • Government services, programs, and activities, including access to public education and mass transit
  • Businesses, such as healthcare providers, retail stores, restaurants, etc.

We do not handle family law cases, divorce, estates and guardianship, or criminal matters. Rather, our focus is on disability-related discrimination.

Our legal services are done pro bono, which means for free. Sometimes we work together on cases with law firms that donate their time.

Please understand we cannot take every case brought to us, and we only focus on disability-related discrimination cases in the areas listed above. If we can’t represent you, we’ll do our best to refer you to another organization that may be able to help.

Our current cases

Some of our current cases include:

  • A federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago about its failure to make its affordable housing accessible to people with disabilities
  • A lawsuit against the City of Chicago for not having homeless shelters that are accessible to people for disabilities and for turning people away because they have a disability

How do I contact Access Living about its legal services?

Those who need legal assistance may contact our legal team through our Civil Rights Intake Hotline listed above. Remember, we cannot take every case brought to us.