Like so many during the pandemic, one of our clients, Leyah, lost her job in April due to COVID-19. While she did find other employment, her income was much less than it used to be – and by this fall, she was 3 months behind on rent for her apartment.
In response, Leyah’s landlord filed a lawsuit for rent and possession that would evict her from her home. While she had already applied for rent relief through the CARES Act, her landlord wanted to move quickly with the eviction and was not willing to work with her as she waited for the CARES Act funds to come through. An eviction on Leyah’s record would severely diminish her chances of being able to recover financially and get ahead in the future: evidence shows that eviction is a cause of poverty, making it more difficult for the person to find safe, affordable housing for years to come. Without an attorney to defend the Leyah in a housing case, she would not have someone to negotiate with the landlord or the court.