Housing Attorneys Receive $15,000 From MAC AIDS Fund
Funding for TreeHouse Initiative to Serve Persons Living With HIV or AIDS
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (December 3, 2015) – Legal Aid Service of Broward County announced that they have received a $15,000 grant from the MAC AIDS Fund. The grant will be used to fund their TreeHouse Initiative to help Persons Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who face housing challenges.
The TreeHouse Initiative will provide free civil legal services to positively impact the health and housing of low-income PLWHA residing in Broward County and will extend programs and services currently provided by Legal Aid. The effort will enhance key relationships and outreach efforts with partner organizations and the broader public and aims to unearth the root causes of poverty and homelessness. The grant will increase the flexibility of attorneys to provide the type of legal assistance needed by clients facing eviction, foreclosure, issues on leases and unit habitability. The level of assistance can range from advice and counsel, to negotiation and even full legal representation. In addition, PLWHA who wish to move from their current housing due to poor living conditions, discrimination, harassment or other unlawful reasons may receive financial assistance to move to a more suitable home. Five thousand dollars of the grant will be set aside to assist in these transitions.
“The funding will enable us to provide extended housing services to persons who do not qualify for some of our other programs. PLUS we will be able to assist approximately ten clients with up to $500 in moving assistance if they are moving from an uninhabitable home,” states Patrice Paldino, Supervising Attorney for the Legal Aid Housing Project. “We are excited about this opportunity to work with MAC and we hope this is the beginning of a long and rewarding relationship, joining forces to bring about systemic change.”
Additional services that attorneys will provide under the grant include providing lease review for clients and reviewing property records to ensure the home is not in foreclosure and that the landlord has the legal right to rent the property. “We see many clients who have been the victim of fraud whereby someone breaks into an unoccupied home, changes the locks and purports to rent it to a tenant. In these situations, our clients have paid first, last and security to move into the home but they have no right to do so. Once proper ownership is established, the tenant must vacate because of their trespasser status,” explains Paldino. “Further complications arise when trying to locate the perpetrator of the fraud who now unlawfully has thousands of the tenant’s dollars. Finally, the tenant is forced to move with little or no notice and must now have additional funds to relocate.”
The program is designed around a TreeHouse concept which evokes fond childhood memories of safety, acceptance and inclusion as opposed to marginalization. Trees embody strength, growth, support, healthy life and a sense of community.
To learn more about the TreeHouse Initiative or other projects at Legal Aid Service of Broward County visit BrowardLegalAid.org.
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Legal Aid Service of Broward County is not-for-profit law firm established in 1974. Our mission is to provide high quality free civil legal advice, representation and education to the poor of Broward County so as to improve the lifestyle and living conditions of the low-income community and to encourage self-sufficiency.
Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) are 501(c)(3) corporations registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer services (LAS #SC-02337 and CCLA #CH19226). All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free 1-800-435-7352 within the state OR VISITING WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the State.