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Situation: A family of five (mom, dad and three children) were in the desperate straits of living in a condemned apartment building, and required to move. Needing the cash to make the move, they had not paid one month’s rent and had been notified of their impending eviction.
On December 23rd, the father was scheduled to attend the eviction hearing. He came in to our Housing Court clinic prior to the hearing, where one of our attorneys likes to work right before Christmas (even though our office had the day off as a holiday). His wife was at work and his children were at school, and he had a significant speech disability.
Action: Our attorney saw from the lease that the landlord had violated its notice requirement for eviction. So he wrote down very specific talking points for the client to say at his hearing. The attorney finished seeing other clients for the morning, and decided to drop by the court room. He walked in right when the dad was trying to present his case, but his speech disability – which got worse when he was nervous – made him almost impossible to understand. Our attorney asked whether the court would permit assistance, made the argument for the client, and the referee dismissed the eviction within minutes.
Result: With the help of Legal Aid, this family was able to overcome obstacle after obstacle. Best of all, they were quite literally home for the holidays, and able to move out of the condemned building to a better life shortly thereafter.
Mid Minnesota Legal Aid, provides comprehensive free legal help for people with low incomes and seniors in our 20-county service area and people with disabilities statewide. We have offices in Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Willmar.
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To learn more about Legal Aid and the people we serve, please go to www.mylegalaid.org