Clinic volunteers find housing for elderly homeless woman
Clients Client J
Last December, a 65 year woman came to an intake session with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, which Jones Day volunteer attorneys staff on a monthly basis. The client, who speaks only French, was accompanied by a young, French-speaking woman who had met the older woman by chance and taken a special interest in helping her. During the intake, volunteers Stephanie Resnik and Daniella Einik learned that the client had been homeless for ten years and suffered from a serious medical condition. For the past four years, the client had been living at a local D.C. shelter and was routinely abused by other shelter residents. Shortly after intake, Stephanie and Daniella filled out a vulnerability assessment with D.C.’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program, which provides housing vouchers and services based on a vulnerability scale. Because the waiting list is extremely long, Stephanie and another Jones Day associate, Kelly Sampson, simultaneously pursued other housing options for the client, running into many roadblocks, including long wait lists and various requirements that our client could not fulfill. Further complicating their efforts was the client's inability to speak English and Stephanie and Kelly's inability to speak French. After exhausting their options, Stephanie and Kelly renewed their efforts with D.C.’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program and, one day, they simply got lucky. A D.C. Department of Human Services staff member took the time to pull up the client’s application and went through it with Stephanie on the phone. Stephanie explained the situation and the needs of her client, and the staff member promised to pass the client’s case on within the department. The team followed up weekly and, in early September, the director of the program met with Stephanie and the client for an interview to assess the client’s vulnerability in person. The interview went well. In late October – after more than ten months exploring every potential housing resource together – the client moved into her own apartment funded by the D.C. Permanent Supportive Housing Program.