I met West in August of 2018. He was living in one of the rural counties we serve at a new apartment complex. We had two other consumers who transitioned to this particular complex. There had been a long history of complaints from both our consumers and other people with disabilities who were renting there.
West contacted me after being told about the assistance we had provided to other consumers. I made an appointment to meet with West. Immediately it was clear that West had an invisible disability. He explained that he had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, that had been well under control. He also told me that due to the management and an assault by another renter he was suffering symptoms once again including anxiety and depression.
The complex management harassed West, trying to push him out of his home. In addition, a fellow resident was harassing and threatening him, West filed police reports. Clearly, West was being victimized as were so many others with disabilities in the complex. These folks were receiving subsidized rent through various programs including HUD and Key Target Housing. When a property agrees to accept subsidies they often do not receive what is considered “fair market value,” for those units. It became apparent that the complex management and owners were concocting lies in an attempt to oust people with disabilities who were receiving assistance.
West told me he was going to fight for what was right and that he was not going to let the management toss him aside, using their self-serving agenda. I knew instantly this gentleman was a force to be reckoned with and that he would succeed.
I went to the very first court hearing West had to attend. There he met with the apartment complex management and magistrate. West won! The man who threatened and assaulted him was found guilty as well. Although harassment by some management employees continued, West had a plan and now he had time. He had until the end of his rental contract, February 28, 2019 to find a new place for himself and his devoted dog. A proud father of two daughters who assisted them with college expenses. West had won! He fought each battle and won the war!
West has since purchased his own home out of state, where he lived joyfully with his pup and enjoys his space, freedom, and most importantly peace. Congratulations to West. You are a shining star and you shine so very bright! It was a pleasure and privilege to work with you and watch you achieve your goals.
By: Debbie Hennessy, MS ILS