Ms. S. sought help at Philadelphia Legal Assistance with her debts so that she could obtain suitable housing for her family of 5. She was living in a rental property when her 7-year-old daughter witnessed a murder in front of their home and was, understandably, traumatized by what she had seen.
Ms. S. wanted to move her family to another location for her daughter's mental health but also because Ms. S. is a survivor of domestic violence and her abuser was still living in her neighborhood.
Her twins, aged 5, both have serious medical and developmental issues and were being treated at CHOP. Because she needed to use her income to transport the twins to CHOP for their weekly appointments, Ms. S. fell behind in payments on her utility bills.
In this situation, affordable public housing was desperately needed, but Ms. S. could not qualify due to her outstanding utility debt.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance interviewed Ms. S. and determined that the case should be referred to the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project (CBAP) to help her stabilize her finances. CBAP gave this case top priority because she was a domestic abuse survivor.
CBAP supervising attorney, Siana Newman, and volunteer law student, Ian Charlton, assisted Ms. S. in discharging her utility debts thereby helping her to qualify for a Section 8 residence far from her abuser and away from the violence witnessed by her daughter. Ms. S. now has a fresh financial start and safety for her family.