Program Attempts to Reduce Homelessness

by Maryann Smith

The following are actual case scenarios. For confidentiality, names, dates, and some details have been omitted or changed.

Scenario #1

A single mother of two children contacted the Cleveland Mediation Center requesting assistance because her landlord started an eviction action and wanted her to vacate the property. The woman was two months behind in rental payments. The woman was given general information on the eviction process as well as information on using mediation services to prevent the eviction altogether.

The woman was a long time employee at a local manufacturing plant and had suffered a heart attack two months earlier. The company she worked for did not provide sick time benefits. Because she was unable to work due to the heart attack, she did not receive pay for that period. Her relationship with the landlord was poor to begin with so she never told him of her illness. Additionally, she had made a number of complaints about repairs including poor plumbing, heating, and faulty electricity.

Cleveland Mediation Center contacted the landlord, who agreed to meet with his tenant along with two volunteer mediators to try and work out the problems. In the mediation session, the landlord agreed to forgive half the late rent, drop the eviction and fix all repairs in one month. Both parties agreed to dates and times when the landlord would make these repairs and inspect the property. The tenant also agreed to communicate with the landlord about problems which may arise in the future including late rent payments. The Cleveland Mediation Center agreed to provide funds to pay for the remainder of the delinquent rent.

Scenario #2

            John was being evicted from his apartment. His roommate unexpectedly moved out the day before the rent was due, leaving John responsible for the entire $350.00 (which he did not have). If John were evicted, he would end up on the street. Unfortunately, John’s Social Security/disability income for the month was already spent on utilities and other essentials.

  John was referred to the Cleveland Mediation Center’s Homeless Prevention Program through a neighborhood social service agency. CMC contacted the landlord, Phil, who agreed to meet with John along with a mediator. The mediator guided John and his landlord through the mediation process which resulted in the following agreements:

1) Tenant agreed to pay half of the late rent the following month

2) A rental agreement was signed by both parties

3) Cleveland Mediation Center agreed to pay the second half of the late rent

4) Landlord agreed to drop the eviction action

            Si usted necesita servicios gracias de mediacion y resolver conflictos en Espanol, 771-7297 comuniquese con Isabelita Caminero en el Centro de Mediacion de Cleveland.

Editor’s Note: If you are in danger of being evicted and need help or want more information about the Homeless Prevention Program, please call Marianne Smith (216) 771-7297 or stop by at 3000 Bridge Avenue.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19