Housing & Public Benefits

A CFR Home for Good Initiative:
Civil Legal Defense Beyond Family Court

Economic and Housing Justice for Families

Finding and keeping stable housing, having sufficient nutritious food, and meeting other basic needs are enormous challenges for people who live in poverty. Parents charged by the City cannot keep their children home or get their children out of the foster system if they can’t demonstrate that they can provide for their children’s basic needs. Research shows that inadequate food, shelter, and other resources can lead to a family neglect case. For nearly 1 in 5 CFR client families, children entered or reentered the foster system because of housing issues. For 81 percent of our clients, housing was among the top reasons for delays in children returning home if they entered care. Most CFR clients pay for needed medication and doctor’s appointments and services like counseling with Medicaid. When families are homeless, the City moves them around, often interrupting their benefits. And securing safe housing, fighting with a landlord, or navigating complicated bureaucracies that provide public benefits is very hard for a parent to do alone—especially when they are also trying to defend a family court case. Our civil legal services team provides efficient and seamless advocacy for clients to make sure that they don’t fight alone or have to find advocacy elsewhere.

Any CFR practice area can refer a client to the Civil Legal Services Team and most important, parents do not have to go elsewhere for this critical assistance. We have built a highly skilled team to represent parents in housing court and administrative proceedings to avoid eviction, secure repairs of heat, stoves and plumbing and access benefits to obtain stable housing, like ACS vouchers.

The team helps our clients gain or maintain SNAP (food stamps), cash assistance, and Medicaid benefits, accompanying them to eligibility appointments and representing them in administrative proceedings when their benefits are cut off through City error. All these efforts help families maintain stability and the resources they need to keep their children home.

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