Legal Aid’s Persistence Helps Family Find New Home

A family with two severely disabled children moved into a new home last week, capping more than a year of work and coordination by Legal Aid’s Civil Practice to find them proper accommodations.

Though Julia McNally, the Supervising Attorney in Legal Aid’s Queens Housing Unit, and Peter Day, a Paralegal Casehandler, fought against the family’s eviction for months, the mother, her partner and the mother’s two daughters were ultimately forced out.

But that only marked the start of Legal Aid’s advocacy for the family.

Kathryn Kliff, a Staff Attorney in the Practice’s Bronx office, was able to obtain an intake from New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, which arranged for the family’s placement in a shelter appropriate for the children.

Meanwhile, Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Practice’s Law Reform Unit, worked on securing a larger housing voucher, which was granted as a reasonable accommodation to address the children’s needs.

And when logistics on the move to the apartment grew complicated by matters like a landlord’s deadline, Kliff, and members of the Homeless Rights Project – Joshua Goldfein, a Staff Attorney, and Dylan Colbert, a Paralegal Casehandler – closely monitored the process, constantly checked with city officials on the move’s status.

Due to that persistence, the family moved into their new apartment about a day before the start of school. They had hoped to be in their new home by the time the new school year began.

The move happened to occur on the mother’s birthday. It was the best present she could have hoped for, she told Kliff.