Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc.
       

ABLE SERVICES

Housing Advocacy

ABLE's Housing Advocacy program helps to ensure fair treatment for low-income tenants of public housing and rental property by working to increase and preserve the supply of decent affordable housing and by improving existing housing conditions. Housing advocates are also committed to community outreach and education, public policy advocacy, and collaboration with community-based organizations and government agencies regarding the housing needs of low-income residents.

The focus of ABLE's housing work includes expanding and enforcing low-income tenants rights. Areas include:

  • Eviction defense;
  • Enforcement of tenants' rights;
  • Illegal lockout or shut-off of utilities;
  • Settling landlord-tenant disputes;
  • Public housing or Section 8 disputes;
  • Request for repairs;
  • Mobile Homes/Parks;
  • Code enforcement issues; and
  • Other housing matters.

More information after the story...


Legal Aid saved Joy and her family a lot of heartache and grief.
They were able to stay in their home...

Helplessness and desperation were not emotions Joy was used to feeling. As an independent, single mother of two young children, she was used to fending for herself. Joy was current on her mortgage but became unemployed. She continued to pay her mortgage as part of a reduced payment program offered by her mortgage servicer. Joy became concerned that the program was not in her best interest when the mortgage servicer would not answer her questions about the complicated program. Joy then made a large lump-sum payment using her life savings to get out of the program and pay the amount of the original payments. Her servicer failed to properly credit the lump-sum payment, eventually began refusing additional monthly payments, and proceeded to foreclosure.

Joy did not sit still and lose the only home her children have ever known to foreclosure. She had a deadline approaching and was desperate for help to respond to the foreclosure filed against her. At a friend's urging she contacted a Legal Aid attorney to review her options.

The day before her initial Legal Aid meeting, Joy was finally offered a new job. Joy and her attorney determined that although she could continue to make her original mortgage payments with her new job, she could not afford the large balance and legal fees that accrued during the foreclosure. Plus, her application for assistance from her lender was wrongly denied, and her housing counselor mishandled her application for rescue assistance.

Joy's attorney was able to obtain more than $18,000 in rescue assistance to reinstate Joy’s loan and preserve more than $9,000 in home equity. Joy also was able to pay off other debts she had incurred while unemployed.

Having a Legal Aid attorney working on her behalf saved Joy and her family a lot of heartache and allowed them to stay in their home. The benefit went beyond just Joy and her family, however. Foreclosed homes that are abandoned lead to blight and crime, and damage whole neighborhoods. Saving families from foreclosure is good for the families and good for the community.


Regardless of owning or renting, ABLE provides quality legal representation in foreclosure actions, saving homes and preserving equity and credit ratings. ABLE's team of attorneys and advocates specialize in foreclosure defense and predatory lending law. We also provide community education to increase awareness of home finance best practices and the dangers of predatory lending.


SAVE THE DREAM PROGRAM

ABLE and LAWO are participating in the Save the Dream Program established in late 2007 by the Supreme Court, the Governor’s Office, State Treasurer, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and statewide regional legal aid programs. Since that time, ABLE and is law partner LAWO have worked on record numbers of foreclosure-related matters, including identifying and fighting predatory mortgage brokers and lenders; working with banks and lenders to offer responsible and affordable loan products as an alternative to predatory lenders and brokers; and working with community partners to encourage and support homeownership as a way of building wealth and moving out of poverty.


MANUFACTURED HOME PARK RESIDENTS' RIGHTS

ABLE has been actively involved in outreach efforts and investigating complaints of violations of Manufactured Home Park Resident Rights. At several mobile home parks, ABLE has received complaints from homeowner-residents regarding the water billing and meter repairs. In particular, some residents are receiving higher bills since the park operator took over the water billing. The park operator is also attempting to implement park rules stating that residents are responsible for repairs to the water meter and piping regardless of what side of the meter the problem occurs. This is contrary to Ohio law which places the responsibility of maintaining the water and sewer system on the park owner. ABLE is engaged in ongoing efforts to educate homeowners on their rights and advocating on behalf of the residents with management to conform to the law.