Open Referral for legal services in Illinois: the new

This is a guest post from Teri Ross, Program Director for Illinois Legal Aid Online.


Illinois Legal Aid Online develops technology and information to increase access to justice for people in Illinois who may otherwise be foreclosed from it, especially for those who cannot find or afford a lawyer.

Illinois Legal Aid Online, or ILAO, just completed a major overhaul of our online platform — consolidating four separate websites — including,, and — into one mobile-friendly site:

I’m pleased to share our launch on the Open Referral blog, as the data model produced by this community has enabled us to increase the complexity of our information while simplifying the experience for our users. Continue reading

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Crisis Text Line: lives in the balance

This guest post is from Rebecca Kan, the head of referral services for Crisis Text Line.


CTLTexterImage2I’m not safe.
I have nowhere to sleep tonight.
I don’t recognize myself anymore, I need help.
I said no…was I raped?

Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 text service for people in crisis. By texting 741741, anyone in the US will be connected with a trained Crisis Counselor.

We have 1,500 Crisis Counselors who receive an intensive 34 hour training and go on to engage with an average of 4-8 texters per shift. Conversations range in severity with over two-thirds related to depression and suicide.

Since our launch in August 2013, we have exchanged nearly 20 million crisis messages.

It can be extremely helpful to simply provide a safe and supportive place for people to share what they’re going through. But often times, people need more specialized long-term help. This could range from talking through some next steps and coping skills to offering local resources for housing, treatment, rape kits, and more. Continue reading

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