Image: Spring Johnson
In late April, we were shocked and saddened to hear that a GNOFHAC client, Ms. Jones,* had lost her home and all of her family’s possessions when the apartment that she and her five children had been living in was destroyed in a fire.
GNOFHAC first began working with Ms. Jones when she came to us after being evicted from her home shortly after filing a police report against her landlord for severe sexual harassment. Ms. Jones’ account of the property owner’s brazen behavior was shocking, and a thorough investigation conducted by our Enforcement Team revealed that she was not the only tenant who had been abused by this landlord.
GNOFHAC staff soon discovered that this property owner had a lengthy history of sexually harassing his tenants: several women reported that he had attempted to exchange rent for sexual favors, engaged in lewd behaviors in front of them and their young children, and often let himself into their apartments uninvited. Although this landlord owned over 20 properties, he limited his abuse to his most vulnerable renters: single women (some with young children to care for) who had fallen behind on rent and would have difficulty securing other housing. Thanks to Ms. Jones’ bravery, we’ve filed a complaint in federal court on behalf of her and other renters and are working to prevent this property owner from illegally harassing future tenants.
After leaving the home where she was being harassed, Ms. Jones and her five children relocated to a small town in northern Louisiana for a new start. Unfortunately, last month, a house fire broke out in the apartment that she and her children were living in, rendering the property unlivable. Thankfully, no one was home at the time of the fire, but the family lost their home and all of their belongings. The Red Cross generously paid for the family’s brief emergency stay in a local motel, and our office was able to assist Ms. Jones in quickly securing a Section 8 voucher. The Jones family is currently searching for a new home and is working hard to return to normal.
In the meantime, the family is staying in temporary housing and needs some help getting back on their feet. If you are able, please join us in supporting Ms. Jones as she and her children work to recover from this disaster. Through your generosity, you can help ensure that Ms. Jones and her family are able to rebuild their lives, replace their belongings, and get back to normal as quickly as possible. Click here to contribute.
UPDATE – 5/24/13: Ms. Jones and her children have secured a new home with the Section 8 voucher we helped her to obtain. The Jones family has been so touched by the outpouring of generous donations and support from our friends from around the state, and would like to say thank you to all those who’ve reached out.
*Name changed for privacy.