Helping Veterans Access Safe Housing
Below is a client story detailing how lives have been impacted by the work of legal service attorneys at Neighborhood Legal Services Program of DC.
Mr. Lewis*, a disabled veteran, lived with four other veterans in a five-bedroom apartment.
In the midst of a frigid winter, Mr. Lewis sought assistance from Neighborhood Legal Services Program of DC (NLSP) when their landlord failed to maintain heat, electricity and other basic utilities provided for in their lease, resulting in a freezing cold and pitch dark home. Once their utilities were shut off, the veterans became homeless due to the uninhabitable conditions of the apartment.
Mr. Lewis also encouraged his roommates to seek legal help, and NLSP attorneys promptly attempted to secure safe and affordable housing for the clients and sued the landlord for damages.
NLSP’s investigation revealed that the landlord had targeted disabled and homeless veterans to occupy substandard housing units, in addition to managing several Community Residential Facilities (CRF) for severely disabled residents. The landlord had failed to properly administer medications or provide adequate food for residents, and failed to pay CRF employees a legal wage or pay rent on the CRF, creating a risk that residents could be evicted.
NLSP reported the results of its investigation to the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health, who transferred the veterans to safe homes and initiated steps to revoke the landlord's license.
*Names have been changed.