In all of our cases, NLSP attorneys remain attentive to systemic issues underlying clients’ problems and opportunities to have a broader impact for vulnerable DC residents. A recent example: Mr. H, a veteran with severe osteoarthritis, came to NLSP when his landlord failed to pay the electricity and heating bill, although Mr. H and his housemates were all paying rent. Their heat was shut off in January, during one of DC’s most frigid winters, leaving the house below freezing and pitch dark.
NLSP attorneys took swift action to have the utilities restored and file a lawsuit against the landlord. In their investigation, they learned that the landlord appeared to be preying on other similarly vulnerable, disabled persons. In addition to the failure to maintain the private housing where Mr. H lived, the landlord was also managing several Community Residential Facilities (CRFs) for severely disabled residents.
Among other issues, it appeared that the landlord had failed to discharge her responsibility to administer medications to the disabled consumers, pay her employees a legal wage, and maintain adequate food for the residents. Most urgently, there was a live judgment for possession because she had failed to pay several months of rent on one of the CRFs, which created the likelihood that disabled residents would soon find themselves forcibly evicted.
NLSP reported the nonpayment of rent and eviction threat to the DC Department of Behavioral Health. As a result, the Department transferred the disabled residents to other homes and the landlord’s CRF license is being revoked. Mr. H’s affirmative case against the landlord is ongoing.