In a case for the Homeless Advocacy Project, Jon Katona represented a woman who was homeless and temporarily living in a women’s shelter with her two teenage children, after the family had fled from her abusive husband. The husband had damaged the couple’s public housing apartment and had also filed false criminal charges against his wife (which he never pursued), all of which caused the woman and her family to be denied public housing going forward. The client sought Jon’s help to get away from her husband once and for all and to obtain housing, benefits and a better life for herself and her children.
Over the course of a year, Jon, with assistance from Kerry Slade and Helen Lafferty, worked with the client to get her criminal charges expunged and to greatly reduce the damages that she had to pay to the public housing authority, thereby clearing her path to housing eligibility. In addition, the Klehr team worked to finalize the couple’s divorce terms, which included an order requiring the father to pay child support. The client was immensely grateful, especially on behalf of her children.
“I found this case to be personally rewarding because we were able to help a woman and her family get out of a bad situation and have a chance to rebuild their lives,” Jon explained. “Our client often brought her children with her to our meetings, and, as I worked on this case, I thought about how unfair it was for these young persons to be burdened with not having a stable home as they tried to live their lives as teenagers. I’m glad we were able to help.”
About The Homeless Advocacy Project
The Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) collaborates with shelter providers, homeless advocates, community service providers, and the legal community to provide homeless clients with legal representation and to connect them with other social services. Each year, HAP holds over 100 legal clinics at 25 homeless shelters, transitional housing sites, overnight cafes, and soup kitchens in Philadelphia. Since HAP’s first legal clinic in December 1990, HAP’s 350 volunteers have helped more than 52,000 homeless people and have provided more than $86 million worth of free legal services to homeless clients. To learn more about HAP, please click here.