Sargent Shriver National Center of Poverty Law

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Shriver Center) provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. The organization achieves this mission through two interrelated programs: (1) Advocacy and (2) Advocate Resources & Training.

Through Advocacy, the Shriver Center develops and advances policies that respond directly to the needs of people in poverty. This advocacy addresses a broad agenda, including promoting access to fair housing, affordable health care, income supports and child care assistance, education equity, employment and training, and civil rights/community justice, and utilizes a variety of strategies including impact litigation, policy development and advocacy, and racial equity advocacy. Through Advocate Resources & Training, the Shriver Center provides intensive training programs and resources, enabling advocates across the US to come together to enhance their skills, share knowledge, and connect with each other to advance anti-poverty advocacy campaigns and drive systems change.

Increasingly, the Shriver Center brings together antipoverty advocates into action-oriented networks. These networks include the Clearinghouse Community, a free online forum where lawyers and other advocates share best practices and strategies; the Legal Impact Network, which connects leading state-based antipoverty organizations to share strategies and coordinate multi-state action; and the Racial Justice Training Institute, a six-month training program and growing network that helps antipoverty lawyers to advance racial justice advocacy within their daily practices, organizations, and communities.

THE CASE: In the late Spring of 2016, the Shriver Center, with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick Dym, Ltd. as co-counsel, filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against the Alexander County Housing Authority (ACHA) in Illinois for intentionally segregating its public housing by race and failing to provide critical upkeep, maintenance, and security measures to the predominantly African-American developments over the last decade. The case, Paul Lambert, et al. v. Alexander County Housing Authority, et al., asserts that the ACHA agents have engaged in both the pattern and practice of rampant discrimination for years based both on residents' race and familial status, violating the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003. The litigation aims to obtain fair and equal living conditions for all individuals residing in public housing under the ACHA and to remedy the segregation and discrimination it has practiced to date, including facilitation of a safe and responsible relocation process for residents should a desegregation order be given by the courts.

Contact: Kate Walz, Director of Housing Justice & Director of Litigation, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, 50 East Washington, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60605