Austin clinic helps patients improve housing conditions to live healthier lives

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Patients at PCC Community Wellness Center can get free legal services thanks to a new partnership the Austin health clinic has with the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing (LCBH).

Attorney Nathan Nash has been on site at PCC Austin Family Health Center, 5424 W. Lake St., since August and helped nearly 50 patients.

PCC’s providers refer patients to Nash, or patients can contact him directly; he’s at the Austin facility every Tuesday.

Nash helps clients with eviction proceedings and also can assist in addressing sub-standard housing conditions. Living with mold, lead, bedbugs or mice can cause health problems such as asthma, lead poisoning and allergic reactions.

PCC engaged in this medical-legal partnership with the understanding that housing conditions can seriously impact a person’s health. The LCBH values this intersection of health and housing; they have been helping Chicago renters since 1980.

While a student at Yale Law School, Nash directed the law school’s medical-legal partnership with Yale New Haven Hospital and HAVEN Free Clinic.

Today he works with a team of attorneys at LCBH. Together they write letters to landlords, defend clients in court and help them buy more time to look for a new place to live if necessary.

Many lower-income tenants simply do not have the means to hire a lawyer to force their landlord to make necessary repairs or pay the utility bills. But tenants do have rights, which is where LCBH attorneys can help.

Nash said he enjoys “working at a medical-legal partnership because it brings together the best of both professions to improve patients’ health and well being.

“The model allows us to address patient-client housing issues before they lead to a crisis, like an emergency room visit or eviction,” he said in a statement.

“It is rewarding to work with PCC patients and providers to address the root cause of patients’ symptoms creatively, affirmatively, and quickly.”

For more information about PCC Austin Family Health Center or to schedule a medical appointment, call (773) 378-3347.

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