One of the valuable services CSA San Diego County provides to the community is fair housing advocacy. Oftentimes, people in disadvantaged communities face discrimination and substandard housing, but do not have the resources or information to resolve the situation. Other times they may refrain from seeking help because they fear retaliation. Following are some examples of ways in which CSA San Diego County was able to help citizens resolve fair housing issues.
1. After battling alcohol addiction, this client got sober and turned her life around with the help of a sober living facility. One day, her landlord entered the room that she shared with her two children and physically forced them to leave. After one week at a motel, the family was facing the prospect of homelessness. CSA San Diego County was able to refer this client to the San Diego Mission for Women and Children to help them arrange new housing, as well as advise her as to her rights concerning her options should she want to pursue legal action against the landlord for illegal eviction. Without CSA San Diego County’s help, this family may have ended up homeless.
2. This client is a disabled El Cajon resident living on less than $20,000 per month. She has repeatedly asked her apartment complex manager to install bathtub railings to accommodate her disability, and he has consistently refused. CSA San Diego County was able to assist her by providing her with the necessary information and advise her as to how to write a proper reasonable accommodation request. With CSA San Diego County’s help, this client was able to secure the accommodation afforded her under the ADA, and to ensure her safety in her own home.
3. This client is disabled and unable to walk. Despite presenting her apartment manager with two doctors’ notes detailing her condition and her requirements for a handicapped parking space, the manager refused to accommodate her. With the help of CSA, this client was able to deliver a letter of reasonable request to the apartment manager, and the complex is now taking steps to provide her with a parking space. Without the assistance of CSA, she would not have been able to elicit action from the apartment manager herself.
4. This client is a disabled man with serious mobility and speech impairments living on a small fixed income. He was wrongfully terminated from the section 8 program, and while termination proceedings were underway, he suffered a stroke that left him hospitalized for months. CSA intervened on his behalf by obtaining records from the County that were previously denied, as well as representing him at administrative hearings. With the help of CSA, the case against him has been dismissed. CSA will continue to advocate for him as he searches for new housing. This complex case was too much for an ailing constituent to resolve individually, and without CSA the client would not have had the resources to fight his wrongful dismissal from the section 8 program. Because of CSA’s support, ongoing access to fair housing access to fair housing is ensured for this client.
5. A representative from CSA attended a meeting at The Rammton Arms Apartment Complex that addressed the end of their affordable housing program. At the meeting, residents were advised as to how to convert from affordable housing to the Section 8 housing program. Since the conversion will result in the loss of over 100 affordable housing units, we anticipate an upcoming increase in Santee residents seeking housing assistance. Continuing to monitor the transition at this complex ensures that we have the most current information to assist residents in Santee.
Healthy Homes Success Stories
Here are some of the ways CSA San Diego County has been able to help families with substandard housing conditions:
1. One client moved into an apartment complex with her five year-old son, only to discover that it was infested with fleas. Her son’s flea bites were so severe that he required medical attention. CSA was able to intervene on the tenant’s behalf by writing and sending a certified letter to the owner, informing her of her rights and options and guiding her through the process of making her home safe for her child.
2. A resident of East County called because she was concerned about a bed bug infestation in her rented home. Her children had many bed bug bites and with a limited income, she was afraid that she didn’t have the sufficient resources to address the problem. CSA was able to help assisting her in writing a letter to the owner, as well as contacting the City Manager’s office.
3. Mold is a frequent problem in San Diego, and CSA San Diego County often helps residents suffering from mold-infested homes. For instance, CSA assisted a tenant whose apartment was overrun with mold, in addition to gas leaks. With small children in the home, the tenant felt helpless and was concerned for the health of his family. With our help, the tenant was able to resolve the situation by contacting the Environmental Health Department.