Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Inc. recently received Innovation Grant funding through our Community Investment process for Ensuring Child Stability, a project that has successfully served several hundred Hamilton County families with minor children. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure that the needs of the entire family are met, especially in the midst of a housing crisis caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the Ensuring Child Stability program, a number of Chattanooga families have been able to keep their homes. The program also improves children’s living conditions by enabling repairs to rental property and obtaining reasonable accommodations for disabled children from property landlords. In the past year, the program has advocated for families with children in a number of ways, including protecting assets from creditors, securing fair housing rights to have a service animal, retrieving personal property, getting security deposits returned and more.
The Ensuring Child Stability program recently helped a local mother living in Section 8 housing with her children.She was pregnant and hospitalized when her landlord filed an eviction action alleging that she failed to report a water leak in her apartment, while she was not at fault. An attorney from Legal Aid of East Tennessee agreed to represent her in the eviction case and moved to dismiss the eviction action. Because he advocated on her behalf in the legal system, the court agreed that the alleged grounds for eviction were waived under Tennessee law and the eviction case was dismissed. The mother and her family were able to remain in their home.
To read more success stories and learn about the impact made in the Greater Chattanooga community, see our impact report.