This video is part of the See What’s Needed Now Series, created to keep Pinellas County up-to-date on the community’s most dire needs.
Greetings. I’m Duggan Cooley, CEO of Pinellas Community Foundation.
For more than 50 years, PCF has funded solutions to solve our community’s most challenging problems.
As we heal from the pandemic, one issue that continues to emerge as a challenge for our community is evictions.
Today, I’m continuing my interview with Caryn Rosenkrantz, senior supervising attorney with Gulfcoast Legal Services housing division, as she helps us explore some of their solutions and successes in working through evictions with their clients.
Duggan: I want to welcome Caryn Rosenkratz again, the senior supervising attorney with Gulfcoast Legal Services. Caryn, can you tell us a great success story from Gulfcoast Legal Services about a client that has triumphed over the threat of eviction.
Caryn: Sure; thank you so much for asking. I’ll refer to a story of recent when we had a young mother of three, Doree. She came to Gulfcoast seeking help with her eviction matter.
Caryn: Unfortunately, she tried to handle the whole thing herself, and the judge awarded possession of the apartment — her home — to the landlord. She came to us late, but we jumped into action. We filed an emergency motion and were able to help her.
Caryn: Doree, as I said, she was a mother of three. Two of her children have disabilities. She lost her second job. She was working two jobs because of COVID. They cut back her hours, and she fell behind on her rent.
Caryn: She also was a federal recipient of a Section 8 voucher, which is a valuable commodity really for anybody, because the federal government pays part of your rent and you pay the other.
Caryn: When she lost her job, she fell behind. If she was evicted, if we hadn’t jumped in, she would have not only lost her home but she would have lost that Section 8 voucher. The Housing and Urban Development would have cut her off, and she wouldn’t have had that anymore.
Caryn: So, we were able to keep her and her children housed. She was in a lot of distress. And her children, two of whom are disabled, were able to continue to have the same address that they would have had for school. Because I’m sure you understand that would impact them.
Caryn: The other thing we were able to do is keep the eviction off her record so that she’s not going to have any credit problems because of it. Her family is now safe and healthy.
Duggan: That is a wonderful story. We should all take pride in our ability to come together as a community and to support organizations like Gulfcoast Legal Services.
Duggan: Thank you, and thank you to the team at Gulfcoast for all you do for individuals and families in our community. We’re very fortunate to have you and we appreciate all that you do.
Caryn: Thank you so much. We really appreciate you, too.
Closing Comments From Duggan
Thank you to Gulfcoast Legal Services for all you do to bring free legal aid to our residents in need.
If you find it in your heart to make our community a better place, join us at PinellasCF.org.
And that’s what’s needed now.
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