Elsa belongs in Bayview. 15 years ago, Elsa moved to the neighborhood because she loved the community. She wanted to be a part of it. She immediately began working for a local nonprofit and eventually rose to the top of the executive team. Elsa was organized, forward thinking, and developed meaningful relationships with her clients. It wasn’t long before Bayview became her home.
Over the years that followed, she became a mother to two lovely girls. She worked hard to raise them as a single mother on a nonprofit salary. 5 years ago, she thought she had found a wonderful man to become their father. Devon was smart and funny. She loved how attentive he was.
But two years later, their relationship took a turn for the worse. Devon became irritable and secretive. Soon his irritation turned violent, leaving Elsa and her daughters unsafe in their own home.
Then, one day, Elsa noticed that there were holes in her balance sheets that she couldn’t explain. She suddenly didn’t have the money she needed to pay her rent or her bills. As she searched for an answer, the bills began to pile up.
In September of 2016, she discovered that Devon was stealing from her bank account. Elsa was outraged. After all that they had been through, this was the final straw. She sent Devon packing and tried to rearrange her life.
By the spring, Elsa was sure that she had made the majority of the payments that she had missed while Devon was stealing from her. On April 1st, however, she came home to find an eviction notice taped to her door.
Elsa went to the landlord and requested an explanation. As it turned out, he had doubled her rent while Devon was stealing from her. She was twice as far behind as she had thought. Elsa didn’t know, because her mailbox had been broken for two years. She had asked the landlord to fix the mailbox and to send her mail to her mother’s home. The landlord neglected to do either. As a result, Elsa suddenly owed $15,000 in back rent.
Elsa couldn’t believe it. An eviction would leave her and her daughters homeless and with an eviction on their record for 7 years. It would be almost impossible for them to find new housing. Elsa was sure there was another way. How could she be punished so severely for something she didn’t know about?
A long time friend of Open Door Legal, Elsa requested to meet with our housing attorney to look for another alternative. Our housing team is now working with Elsa to remove her back rent and save her from eviction. With your help, Elsa and her daughters can focus on healing from their traumatic relationship with Devon rather than trying to survive a housing crisis.