Fair Housing Act in Section 8 Housing
Mae is a 66 y/o woman who was referred to MLP-CO for a housing issue. She lived in Section 8 apartment complex in Brighton. In November 2015, her apartment flooded after the unit above hers caught on fire and triggered the sprinkler system. It took over two months for her landlord and a flood-damage mitigation company to completely clean Mae’s apartment. With nowhere else to live and no option for temporary housing, Mae lived in the apartment during the cleanup process and developed, for first time in her life, persistent asthma and a chronic cough. To make matters worse, the apartment complex allows tenants to smoke cigarettes in their units. The second-hand smoke from her neighbors’ units exacerbated Mae’s medical conditions.
After her diagnosis with asthma, Mae’s Salud physician referred her to MLP-CO. Using the Fair Housing Amendments Act, which provides that it is unlawful discrimination to deny a person with a disability a reasonable accommodation, MLP-CO attorneys demanded that Mae's landlord relocate her to a different, non-smoking building. Ultimately, the landlord agreed and Mae used her same Section 8 voucher to move into a brand new, non-smoking building on the same property.
Obtaining Legal Status for Abused Agricultural Workers
After being recruited from their hometown of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Juan Pablo and Julio Cesar came to the United States on temporary, seasonal agriculture worker visas. Their goal was to work for six to nine months in order to earn money to support their families back home.
However, the conditions at the farm in which they were working were not what they had been promised. The housing was insufficient - forcing 12 men to live in a small house with only three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The working conditions were backbreaking - sometimes forced to work for 16 hours in a day with little to no breaks. The employers were malicious - threatening to revoke the workers' visas should they complain to anybody.
Juan Pablo and Julio Cesar met with a care manager at Salud to discuss the conditions on the farm. She referred the men to MLP-CO. The lawyers immediately recognized these conditions as a violation of the strict guidelines for employers when hiring temporary agricultural workers.
With the help of the Department of Labor, MLP-CO lawyers were able to help both men apply for a T-Visas (special visas for victims of human trafficking.)
After a lengthy application process and waiting period, both men were awarded Lawful Permanent Resident status in 2018. Their wives and children in Mexico have also been awarded legal status in the United States as derivative family members and will reunite with the men in the near future.
Obtaining SSI for a Disabled Refugee
Mnatsakan is a 58 year-old Armenian national that was living in Ukraine when conflict erupted in 2014. He sought refuge in the US as him and his family were displaced from their home. In late 2015, he approved and entered the United States with his wife as refugees.
Shortly after their arrival in the United States, Mnatsakan suffered a major heart attack. Lasting effects left him unable to work or perform many usual activities of daily living.
He was referred to MLP CO by the Transitions of Care team while he was still in the hospital. Using provisions that allow non-citizens to obtain Supplemental Security Income (a type of Social Security disability benefits), MLP CO attorneys assisted Mnatsakan through the complex process of applying for benefits. With their help, Mnatsakan was awarded Supplemental Security Income and has been able to obtain housing for him and his wife.