Laurene M. Heybach, director of the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), has worked for more than 30 years in civil rights and poverty law. Since 1990, her work has focused primarily on homeless families and children. She founded the CCH Law Project in 1997, after working as a supervisory attorney for the Homeless Advocacy Project at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Ms. Heybach has written extensively about the needs and rights of children who are homeless or in foster care. In 1999, she and CCH Law Project Associate Director Patricia Nix- Hodes secured a landmark court order requiring the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to address the needs of homeless students. Since then, both attorneys have collaborated closely with CPS on the development of a Homeless Education Program serving more than 15,000 children and teens in the CPS. Ms. Heybach also served as court appointed legal counsel in the Hill v. Erickson case, a class action settled in 1994 on behalf of pregnant and parenting youths who are wards of the state.
Heybach is a 1978 graduate of Marquette University Law School. She received the first Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award from The Chicago Bar Foundation and the first Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (both 1998). In 2004, she was named a civil rights Super Lawyer by Law & Politics. Ms. Heybach received the 2006 All-University Award for Community Service from Marquette University, where she earned both her bachelor and law degrees.