For Release: Friday, May 18, 2012
LAWRENCE– The Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Inc. is working to assist about 40 residents of a condemned boarding house who were given three days to vacate the building and find new housing. GLCAC’s Community Services Center and its program director, Marisabel Melendez,has provided translation services to help them communicate with city inspectors and housing court officials,advocated on behalf of the residents with the landlord, and assisted residents in finding new places to live.
“We took quick action to help these residents meet with city inspectional services and to find a place to live because they have few options to find decent shelter and even fewer people willing to help them. I congratulate Marisa, as well as our partners in this effort, for their compassionate work,” said Christian Dame, Interim Executive Director of GLCAC.
The GLCAC learned of the planned closing of the Valley Lodging rooming house on Monday from a client who was seeking assistance with filing a complaint in the housing court. From there, GLCAC assessed the situation and reached out to community partners to assist as many of the occupants of the building as possible. The organizations that worked with the GLCAC included Daybreak Shelter, Lazarus House, Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, the Salvation Army, and the City of Lawrence Veterans Services Office.
Examples of the assistance provided included:
- The GLCAC was able to place two couples who met program requirements into two permanent apartments. The GLCAC’s Melendez, in providing translation services, was able to organize the tenants in filing a more efficient, single complaint in housing court rather than filing multiple claims.
- The Lazarus House assisted a gentleman in a wheelchair and with an oxygen tank get a reserved spot in the shelter. It also helped a family with a child obtain a space;
- The Daybreak Shelter informed displaced residents of the procedures for being accepted into the shelter;
- The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center provided residents with information on other shelters and food pantries available;
- Community activist Isabel Melendez, who recently retired from GLCAC, offered the Donovan School as a meeting place for the displaced tenants and offered clothing for those who lost belongings through fire and theft in the building last weekend, and
- The Salvation Army provided printed information about the housing services available from the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance.
The GLCAC’s Community Service Center serves the community by offering referrals to social services, direct intervention and providing information about resources available to families of Greater Lawrence. The CommunityServiceCenter is known as the “human service emergency room” for the Greater Lawrence area.
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