A Day In The Life
Connecting Clients to Essential Resources in the Housing Help Program
“It’s really easy to get taken advantage especially if you’re poor & you’re Black or Brown.”
In the Bronx – the borough with the most evictions – our Housing Staff are working tirelessly. “We’re dealing with people in emergency situations” explains Jodi Almengor, a Paralegal Case Handler who came to The Legal Aid Society about a year ago. “We’re in the trenches.”
The challenge is connecting the tenants to the right resources, particularly when they come to us with urgent issues beyond their housing matter, such as food insecurity.
As a Paralegal Case Handler, Jodi spends a great deal of time working directly with our clients in the Housing Help Program. The Program, based in the Bronx, offers help to clients in at-risk neighborhoods to avoid the harmful consequences of displacement from their homes. These tenants could be on the brink of eviction and homelessness, or they could be facing insurmountable debts related to housing payments.
This year, Jodi and her colleagues are seeing first-hand the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She now fields calls from clients all over the city, many in tears, overcome with anxiety after finding themselves out of work and unable to make rent. “That gives you an indication of what the eviction machine looks like and the amount of pressure we were under as a staff,” she said.
While Jodi and her colleagues connect clients with the housing resources they need, she also goes the extra mile to help her fellow New Yorkers. With so many New Yorkers finding themselves in dire straits, it’s no surprise that Jodi is now fielding questions outside of her housing work. “Sometimes we just need to connect people to areas out of our expertise, like to mutual aid groups so they can get fed. They ask us plainly, ‘How can I get food?’”