For months, our client’s landlord declined to make repairs on her apartment, advising that he was waiting for further damage so that the insurance company would pay for a more comprehensive restoration of the property. One day, the client found a big hole in the collapsing ceiling; she called the village inspector who condemned the apartment and requested the landlord fix the damage. Our client and her family were forced to move into a hotel due to the inhabitability of the property, and she sought out the Clinic for help. For months she waited to receive her security deposit back and reimbursement for expenses incurred while living in the hotel, but the landlord declined. After a few months, clinic staff and volunteer attorneys Ron Futterman and Tracy Baade helped our client to obtain the full amount of the security deposit and reimbursement of expenses related to their tenancy.
In May of 2017, Vanessa came to the Clinic for a consultation on an adjustment of status as a U-Visa recipient. A U-Visa is a form of immigration relief for victims of certain types of crime who help law enforcement with the investigation. It provides lawful status in the U.S. for four years, with work authorization, and allows recipients to apply for lawful permanent residency after maintaining that status for three years. Vanessa was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and obtained U-Visa status from November 2013 to November 2017. Prior to coming to the Clinic for her initial consultation, Vanessa had been working with an attorney for months without any results—and she was beginning to worry that she would not be able to submit her application to adjust as a lawful permanent resident by the November deadline. The staff at the Clinic quickly prepared the necessary documents for her application and successfully filed it in August 2017. Seven months later, Vanessa’s application to adjust status as a lawful permanent resident was approved and she was overjoyed with both relief and new hope that she could accomplish so much more in this country with her new status. When she came to our office to pick up her lawful permanent resident card, Vanessa talked about applying for new jobs, going back to school, and visiting family whom she hadn’t seen since she was a child back in Mexico. We spoke to her recently to check up on her and she said she was doing very well and was very grateful for the help we provided her.
Our client, facing abuse from her husband, came to us scared for her children and ready to seek an Order of Protection--which we were able to help her obtain by accompanying her to the courthouse. Her husband unexpectedly showed up at the children’s school after he was served and took them to his house, denying our client access to her minor children. However, we were able to secure a parenting schedule and later a full evidentiary hearing on the Order of Protection through the court. This resulted in the court awarding our client a full plenary Order of Protection that will last two years. We currently represent her in divorce proceedings and have been able to provide her with rental assistance through our outreach efforts.