Individuals and families should be secure in their home. Housing has become an increasingly sensitive and highly charged issue for renters, owners, and landlords trying to figure out how to make ends meet during the Stay at Home order and into the future.

A group of generous local donors have come together to create the Housing Legal Defense Fund. With $10,000 seed money, the goal is to raise $50,000 to ensure accessible, pro-bono housing legal services will be available for those who need to fight an eviction, receive help with issues related to substandard housing, or settle a landlord-tenant issue.

Every dollar donated to the Housing Legal Defense Fund will be used to provide free legal services to our neighbors in need of free legal services for housing and shelter issues.

Here are some of the ways we take action:

  • An individual or family will be connected with accessible, professional, pro-bono legal representation so that they may stay safe during this crisis and beyond.
  • We help fight evictions.
  • Provide assistance navigating publicly subsidized housing.
  • Ensure residents do not endure substandard housing.
  • Respond to the influx of landlord-tenant rights issues and future foreclosure and eviction prevention educational efforts.
  • Assist with homeownership, including homeowner association issues.
  • Fight housing discrimination.
  • Represent clients facing predatory mortgage lending practices.

By joining these fund leaders as a donor to the Housing Legal Defense Fund, you will be helping our neighbors live productive and secure lives and the Clinic will be one step close to hiring a full-time Director of Housing Law Practice.

Here are some of the clients we have been able to help:

Client contacted the clinic looking for assistance to get his $1700 security deposit back. After only a few months renting, client decided to leave the apartment because he was not able to afford the amount of rent he was paying; client talked to the landlord and he agree to let client moved out, reassuring him he was going to received his deposit later. Client moved with his wife and his daughter to a new apartment; for months client waited to receive the security deposit back, but landlord never return the deposit to client. After almost a year after moving out, clinic staff and volunteer attorney Steve Miller helped client contacting the landlord and getting his security deposit back.

After spending two weeks in a hotel, in March, client and her husband came to the Clinic seeking assistance. For months, client asked her landlord to check a stain in the ceiling of her apartment, a leak in the kitchen, and mold issues in the bathroom, however, the landlord declined to make repairs, advising that he was waiting for further damage hoping that the insurance company would pay for a more comprehensive restoration of the property. One day, after they returned from work, client found pieces of the ceiling on the floor of the apartment and a big hole in the ceiling; they called the village inspector who condemned the apartment and requested the landlord fix the damage. At that moment client and her family were forced to move due to the inhabitability of the property caused by water damage and mold. For months client waited to receive the security deposit back and reimbursement for all the expenses they incurred while living in a hotel, but the landlord again declined to return the deposit to client. After a few months, clinic staff and volunteer attorneys Ron Futterman and Tracy Baade helped client to obtain the full amount of the security deposit and reimbursement of expenses related to their tenancy.