In 1989, Anne wrote a check for $83 to a clothing store. The check bounced. At the time Anne was actively using drugs and had recently been diagnosed with HIV. She was intermittently homeless and was not aware the store had taken her to court for the debt and that a warrant was issued.
Now Anne is in subsidized housing. She has been clean for many years and has turned her life around. However, in December of 2006 she got a letter from social security stating that they were cutting off her disability benefits due to an outstanding warrant issued in 2002.
Not only did she not have any income, but the management of her building was saying that she might be in danger of losing her housing due to the outstanding warrant and her sudden inability to pay her rent. Anne was petrified. The advocate at the Women's Lunch Place spoke to the clerk's office at the court, and they confirmed that the warrant was for the bad check written in 1989. The advocate arranged for Anne to work with a pro bono attorney at Dwyer & Collora. They went into court and removed the default. Anne had been able to borrow some money to pay back the $83 and fees. However, before her benefits could be reinstated, Anne was told that she was being evicted from her housing due to the rental arrearage that had accrued.
The advocate worked with Anne to find assistance to cover the bulk of what was owed and helped Anne to arrange a payment plan with the landlord for the balance. At Anne's request, the advocate also referred Anne to a program that would help provide her with a volunteer representative payee who would be able to help Anne with budgeting and paying her rent and other bills in the future.
Her benefits have now been reinstated and her housing is secured. Anne regularly talks about how blessed she feels to have been able to come to the Women's Lunch Place and find the material and concrete support to help her to fix what had at first appeared to her to be an insurmountable problem. But she also feels grateful to have been a part of a community where she was able to find the emotional support to face the issues that were confronting her head on.