“I never thought I would be in a position where I’m not making a living…” The words of small business owner Mercedez are something we heard often during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the mother of two young children, Mercedez lived in a substandard house where her landlord failed to take adequate measures to address the building’s needs.
There was flooding in her home’s basement, and Mercedez and her family were forced to boil water for cooking as well as for hygiene purposes.
When the pandemic hit, like so many in our community, Mercedez lost income and fell behind on her rent. Her landlord filed an eviction action against her.
That’s when she was introduced to Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.
Legal Aid Society provides free legal assistance to Milwaukee County residents in need. United Way funding supports Legal Aid Society through the Safe & Stable Homes: Ending Family Homelessness initiative.
Mercedez met with a Legal Aid Society staff attorney, who connected her to federal CARES Act funding through Community Advocates. This support enabled Mercedez and her children to relocate to a safe and secure home.
Mercedez said she cried when she was finally able to take a clean shower.
Legal Aid Society will represent Mercedez in court to further limit the amount of monetary damages sought by her former landlord, especially given the uninhabitable condition of the premises.
Ending family homelessness starts with ending evictions. Consider supporting this important work with a donation to United Way’s Safe & Stable Homes initiative.