Pauline

Housing Law Client

Suddenly, my rent increased by $2,000. That was more than my income. I felt filled to the brim with stress. This is where my family celebrated Christmas – getting evicted meant losing my family’s home base.

“When I was little, my grandma got sick. My whole family moved from Dallas to the Bay Area to take care of her. I am incredibly close with my family, especially my twin sister. She’s my confidant.

Decades later, I still live in San Francisco. I take care of my nephew, and we live in a two-bedroom home. I’ve lived on a fixed income for a while, but my housing voucher keeps my rent manageable.

That all changed when I got a new landlord. Suddenly, my rent increased by $2,000. That was more than my income. I felt filled to the brim with stress. This is where my family celebrated Christmas – getting evicted meant losing my family’s home base. I talked to the person I had always gone to: my twin.

I told her how I was afraid I’d end up homeless and that I was going to fight back. ‘You can’t win this case on your own,’ she advised me. ‘You need to get some help.’ That’s when I found Open Door Legal.

The second I arrived at Open Door Legal, I felt welcomed. The attorneys calmed down; they gave me a cup of coffee, comforted me, and offered support. When you’re stressed, it can feel like you’re blind, but once I walked through those doors, I could see again.

My attorneys discovered that the rent increase was a result of the management company reclassifying my home as a 3 bedroom, despite the 3rd ‘room’ being so small you could barely fit a twin bed. My housing voucher would only cover a 2 bedroom.

They helped me devise a plan: my granddaughter and her son were going to move in with me. This would allow me to qualify for the 3 bedroom voucher– I could stay in my home.

Now, they’ve officially moved in and I finally feel secure again. I’m back to doing what I love most in the world: spending time with my family.”

Photography © Jona Bocari