Photo credit: Mark Bowen Media
HOUSING & CONSUMER
PREVENTING HOMELESSNESS AND IMPROVING HOUSING CONDITIONS
Helping low-income people achieve housing stability is central to our mission. It is a foundation that enables individuals and families improve their overall economic situation.
Housing & Consumer Programs
Stabilizing Neighborhoods Through Secure Housing
While foreclosures are no longer at the Great Recession level, the threat of them remains a significant issue for low-income families. Ohio had the 7th worst foreclosure rate in the country in 2015, and still has a large amount of vacant, blighted residential property. Many low-income neighborhoods continue to suffer from a high rate of foreclosure.
Legal Aid strives to prevent low-income individuals’ loss of homes from foreclosure and predatory lending activities. We defend homeowners in foreclosure and negotiate settlements with lenders so that homeowners retain their homes.
We also assist nonprofit housing developers to acquire and renovate vacant blighted property to revitalize neighborhoods.
Legal Aid works to support the existence of affordable rental housing in our communities and to protect the rights of people who live in rent-assisted housing. That work includes preventing evictions, ensuring that unsafe rental housing conditions are remedied and averting Housing Choice Voucher terminations. We also ensure that basic utility services are affordable and provided to all individual low-income users.
Legal Aid helps to prevent lock-outs, utility shut-offs, or other emergency threats of loss of housing. Legal Aid represents tenant groups in large multi-family buildings to force landlords to properly maintain their properties and, when necessary, ensure that receivers are appointed to manage the buildings.
Legal Aid leads community efforts to revitalize neighborhoods so that they become vibrant and stable places to live and work, reduces neighborhood blight and conducts advocacy to create policies which improve neighborhood safety, prevent foreclosures and preserves and improves affordable rental housing.
Protecting the Consumer
Victims of serious consumer fraud need legal help to obtain proper relief and compensation and needy families can require advice or representation to resolve serious debt problems.
Overwhelming debt burdens weigh heavily on low-income consumers, especially those attempting to re-enter the workforce or those looking for affordable housing. Our Bankruptcy program assists low-income consumers in Southwest Ohio in need of Chapter 7 bankruptcy who cannot afford to hire private attorneys.
We can help consumers whose income falls below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, who would benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Legal Aid Prevents Family’s Eviction
Vanessa Cambridge*, a working mother of three, was being threatened with eviction. Her landlord accused her of not paying required fees and although Ms. Cambridge had paid the fees, her landlord would not acknowledge the payment. She was very scared and stressed at the notion of being homeless and she was also worried about Danny, her three-year-old son, who was struggling with severe asthma.
Ms. Cambridge took Danny to his appointment at Cincinnati Children’s and the doctor discovered that the family might be evicted. He referred Ms. Cambridge to Child HeLP, Legal Aid’s medical-legal partnership with Cincinnati Children’s. A Legal Aid attorney contacted the landlord. She presented the manager with copies of receipts proving that Ms. Cambridge had, in fact, paid the fees, and defended the eviction in Court. As a result, the eviction case was dismissed. She and her children were able to remain securely in their apartment.
Working single mothers like Ms. Cambridge are particularly vulnerable when issues like this arise. Without secure housing, she could have easily experienced a cascade of negative outcomes potentially culminating in losing her job and her income. Even though she had proof of payment, she could not achieve a positive resolution on her own. Legal Aid’s assistance was critical in preventing a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.READ MORE SUCCESS STORIES