Housing is a basic fundamental human right. Without stable housing, you may not be able to find or keep a job or provide proper food and safety for yourself or your family. If you have children in the household, unstable housing can have a profound effect on their schooling and health.
Unfortunately, many of our clients deal with housing uncertainty on a regular basis. Many are barely making ends meet and even the slightest change in circumstances can prove devastating.
Sam* is a senior citizen on a limited fixed income. Increasing grocery and health care costs have made it more and more difficult for Sam to make ends meet. Her social security benefits mostly go toward paying rent and for groceries. As she gets older, she needs to visit the doctor more frequently and take more medications. The deductibles are adding up.
Recently, Sam fell behind on her rent and the landlord just sent her a rent demand notice. She was frightened and upset. After all, she had never missed a payment in her entire life and now, at 80, she was afraid of losing the only home she knew. Her family was all gone, she never had any children, and she did not want to go to a nursing home! Thankfully, she reached out to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to get advice and counsel. Our intake staff took her information and within a couple of days an attorney from our office reached out to advise Sam on her next steps.
It became clear that Sam’s rent had been raised without notice and that she was eligible for additional rental assistance from certain programs in the community. LSHV was able to negotiate with the landlord to secure an affordable monthly rent going forward and refer Sam to several community resources to help her with groceries and other incidentals. Sam is able to remain in her home!
Maintaining a client’s housing is a critical aspect of what Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) does. In fact, housing related issues made up 47% of the cases our attorneys handled in 2021. Sam is just one of hundreds of individuals who face eviction every month. LSHV works closely with our clients to make sure that they can remain stably housed. It is imperative that we keep people in their homes and avoid homelessness. The economic and community impact of homelessness makes helping our clients not only a moral imperative, but also good common sense.
By now you know that the moratorium on evictions ended in New York State on January 15th. Since then, LSHV has opened 1,432 new housing related cases throughout the region. In addition, we still have many housing related cases still pending from previous years for a total of 3,581 total housing cases!
There continues to be a much higher need than the available resources can address. Many of the tenants who come to LSHV have fallen behind on rent payments because of circumstances beyond their control. Many are elderly and on fixed incomes – and with the rising cost of gas, food items and medication, many are facing financial instability.
Your support helps us to help our neighbors. Family by family, person by person, we are passionately pursuing justice one elder, one mother, one veteran, one grandparent, and one child at a time. Please help us to help folks like Sam and so many others in our community with a donation today.