“Daddy, someone’s here!”

fatherdaughter-smallAs I stood outside my client’s front door, I heard the patter of a little girl’s feet, followed by the deep thud of her father’s footsteps.

When you think of homeless veterans, you might not think first of single fathers. Yet here I was, working to help a young father who had only recently escaped homelessness. Now, he was at risk of eviction.

 

After a decade of military service, “John” had been discharged with a number of disabling conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Due to his disabilities, John was unable to work, and was receiving rental assistance from Operation Healthy Homecoming (OHH). In November 2016, John experienced a worsening of his mental health symptoms, and lost contact with OHH. For this reason, OHH was unable to pay his December rent and John’s landlord sued him for eviction.

By the time John’s case came to the attention of MHAS, John’s landlord had received a default judgment against him and a sheriff’s notice had been pinned on John’s door. He and his daughter had to be out in five days.

Relying on John’s rights under federal fair housing laws, I was able to request a reasonable accommodation and have the default judgment set aside. John’s housing is now stable and he is attending a local community college. OHH is working to help John get a subsidized housing voucher, known as a VASH voucher, so that he will always be able to afford his rent.

In a time when unaffordable rents are pushing many Angelenos into the streets, MHAS is privileged to work with OHH to prevent homelessness among veteran families. I am honored to be part of this work.