Justice Empowered: When the going got rough, our client got tough

Our client first came to the AIDS Law Project over twenty years ago. She was having a difficult time as she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis. We assisted her in obtaining public benefits and represented her through the painful proceedings as the state sought to terminate her parental rights.

As much as we tried to support her over the years, she suffered from housing instability because she was afraid to challenge her landlords. Instead, she moved from apartment to apartment.

But as her health stabilized, so did her self-confidence. She found stable housing and returned to work as a home health aide helping elderly and disabled individuals.

After a dozen years of housing security, she felt brave enough to complain to her landlord about the lack of heat, plumbing issues and ceiling leaks.

When the landlord failed to remedy these complaints, she called us because she didn’t want to surrender her rights and move. We advised her of her legal rights to withhold rent until the repairs were made.

When the landlord threatened to evict her for non-payment, we assisted her in holding her ground. With the confidence she cultivated over twenty years of living with HIV, we went to court and aggressively argued her case.

The landlord agreed to make the repairs and gave up his claim for the two months of rent she withheld. She was thrilled that she had the fortitude to stand up to her landlord and that her rights were vindicated.

It has been a long road for her to become the secure person she is today. She knows her legal rights and won’t back down in the face of injustice.