Housing and Legal
Ernestine’s Housing and Legal Program provides essential resources for women leaving an abusive relationship. Women that arrive at the shelter have a need to find safe, permanent, and affordable housing. This is an important step to establish and maintain their independence, as well as rebuild their lives. We help our clients understand the various social systems that are available to them and how to navigate an often confusing bureaucratic system.
The legal system often acts as a barrier to many women in the shelter as most are unaware of their legal rights or obligations. This often results in women not receiving proper child support, custody or protection from their abuser. The Legal Support program offers women access to sources of support and helps clients navigate through the legal systems. The program provides assistance to:
- determine legal needs
- provide legal information
- referrals to lawyers and community based agencies
- advocate with various social systems
- provide accompaniments to legal appointments and court appearances
- assist clients with forms such as legal aid applications, immigration applications, Humanitarian and Compassionate applications, and Child and Spousal support applications.
Further, locating affordable housing for women is an important step in establishing and maintaining their independence through:
- client assessment
- application process
- writing a client’s narrative
- supports with telephone interview
- assists with filling applications and housing searches
This Ernestine’s program introduces women to the Landlord and Tenant Act and outlines their rights and responsibilities as tenants. Advocacy with Special Priority Housing Organizations is a large component.