Mother and son return to DC Village shelter after winning expulsion case
Clients Wood, Cecilia and Terrence
On April 24, 2006, Ms. Cecilia Wood, a 29 year-old homeless woman battling uterine cancer and neurological/emotional disorders, attended the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless' Intake Session at the Church of the Brethren. Constance M. Dougherty, an associate in Jones Day Washington, staffed the intake session that day and interviewed Ms. Wood.
Cecilia and her thirteen year-old son, Terrence, were served a week before with a Notice of Termination from DC Village, their temporary housing shelter in Southwest Washington. Cecilia and Terrence had fifteen days before they would be expelled because, the Notice alleged, she was violent and a danger to herself and others at the shelter.
Ms. Wood's opportunity to defend herself and dispute the Notice was to occur at an Administrative Review Hearing scheduled for two days later, April 26, 2006. Once it confirmed there was no conflict, Jones Day agreed to represent Ms. Wood at the hearing. After an extremely abbreviated and intense investigation (whereby it was confirmed that Ms. Wood was not, in fact, a danger to anyone), the Administrative Review Officer heard the case. After considering testimony from counsel, Ms. Wood and an agent from DC Village, the Administrative Review Officer concluded the hearing. In a break from protocol, the Officer notified the parties verbally that she would be finding in favor of Ms. Wood because she concluded that DC Village failed to prove the allegations in the Notice and that the Notice itself was procedurally deficient. Ms. Woods and her son could stay at DC Village. In the meantime, Cecilia's case manager and Ms. Dougherty are working to find Cecilia and Terrence a more permanent housing solution.