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Safe Housing for Two Sisters in Need

Harriet* called the Senior Legal Hotline because she wanted to add her sister, Louise*, to her Section 8 lease. Louise is mentally incapacitated and had been living with her other sister until that sister’s death, at which point Harriet took her in. When Harriet tried to add Louise to her lease, she was denied by the Atlanta Housing Authority because Louise allegedly owed a debt of around $600 to the local housing authority. Upon further investigation, hotline attorney Adrienne Ashby found that Louise’s name was in fact on the lease with her other sister. 

However, immediately after the sister’s death, Louise moved in with Harriet.  Meanwhile, the ex-husband of the deceased sister “took over” the apartment and lived there.  He did not pay rent, and a dispossessory was filed. Because the client’s name was on the lease, the local housing authority asserted that the client owed $627 in rent, court fees, and repair charges. Louise’s only income is from Social Security Insurance, and so she was not able to pay the debt (which was not her fault). 

Adrienne reached out to Atlanta Housing Authority and was told that, if the other housing authority would remove the charges from the client’s record, then Louise could be added to Harriet’s lease.  From November 2019 through January 2020 Adrienne negotiated with the local housing authority for the removal of the debt. Eventually, they agreed to cancel the debt, and Louise was able to be added to Harriet’s lease, giving her much-needed housing security and stability.

This success came at an important time given the shutdowns from COVID-19, and now both Louise and Harriet are able to be safely housed during this time. 

*Clients names changed to maintain confidentiality. 


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