GBLS Attorney Prevents Young Cambridge Family’s Eviction due to Public Housing Authority Accounting Error

"Shanice" with her children - istock image

Shanice, the young mother of a 7-year-old and a 2-year-old, was shocked and frightened when she received notice from the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) that within 48 hours an eviction moving truck would be at her door. CHA alleged Shanice owed back rent, and had not appeared in court on her scheduled date.  In fact Shanice had never received the initial summons and had been unaware of her court date. 

Shanice was referred her to GBLS’ Cambridge and Somerville office where an attorney discovered that CHA had unlawfully mixed in maintenance charges and fees for minor issues, such as trash can lids not attached, with Shanice’s rent and was trying to evict her for non-payment of non-rent fees.  Shanice offered to pay CHA all the money allegedly due, using some of her own money as well as monies from a City of Cambridge homelessness prevention grant, however the CHA was unwilling to accept the payment.  Shanice therefore had no choice but to go to court to preserve her tenancy.

If Shanice lost at trial, not only would she and her children be evicted, they would also be unable to obtain any other affordable housing or even to access emergency shelter.  With the help of her GBLS attorney Shanice won the trial on the basis that CHA’s accounting mechanism was faulty. Shanice and her children were able to stay in their home.

Shanice has since completed a job training program and works in the hospitality industry.  With a steady income, she no longer needs Transitional Aid for Families with Dependent Children benefits.  She also transferred into a beautiful new affordable unit much closer to work and the children’s childcare.  With her attorney’s help, Shanice went from being faced with losing her home and being on the streets with her children, to a stable living situation and promising future.