May I be frank with you?
Winter is coming. COVID-19 cases are on the rise. One of our most vulnerable populations — our cherished senior community — is faced with one of its greatest challenges yet.
I wish I could tell you that the threat of COVID-19 is the only major challenge facing older Pennsylvanians today. It’s not. May I tell you one of our clients’ greatest fears? Eviction.
Just imagine…you’re 70, 80, 90 years old…even older. You’re poor. You’re trying desperately to avoid contracting this deadly virus. On top of all this, you’re facing the real threat of being thrown out into the street.
Every day, with your support, SeniorLAW Center staff attorneys and advocates work tirelessly to meet the needs of vulnerable older people. Their stories… heart-breaking. Our work…critical and often life-transforming.
Our clients’ words speak volumes! I’d like you to meet Frederica. She’s undergoing cancer treatment. After three months using a neighbor’s bathroom, she worked up the courage to ask her landlord to fix her toilet. He threatened to shut off her electricity and to evict her (illegally, mind you) even though she has paid her rent.
Then there’s Jeremy, our client who was recently evicted from his apartment. Jeremy has a breathing impediment. His landlord still has not allowed him to return to the apartment to get his oxygen concentrator, something that Jeremy is legally permitted to do. Jeremy has been risking his life going to the hospital every day to get the oxygen he needs.
Maria is confined to a wheelchair. Her apartment was recently gutted in a fire. She was forced to move out during the repairs. Now that the building is fully renovated, her landlord is refusing to let her come home.
Claudia’s landlord threatened to illegally evict her if she didn’t move out during the pandemic. Why, you ask? Because he’s afraid she will infect him, even though there is no evidence she has COVID-19.
Your gift at work! Because of generous donors like you, Frederica, Jeremy, Maria, Claudia, and countless others now have the representation they need to fight these injustices. More than 90% of Philadelphia tenants face eviction without the assistance of counsel while almost all landlords have counsel, creating an enormous imbalance of power in a place which determines whether one is homeless or safely housed. Our services make that difference.
Stories like these inspire all of us at SeniorLAW Center and our unwavering dedication to be there for vulnerable older people across the Commonwealth. Our drive extends to advocacy, too.
SeniorLAW Center recently celebrated a historic day of justice in Philadelphia. City Council unanimously passed the civil right to counsel for low-income tenants. Our brave clients testified at each Council hearing. They won the day!
Seniors, families, and kids will benefit profoundly from this decision. No one should have to face eviction alone. Your gift of support helped make this decision a reality, too.
The need in our state for SeniorLAW Center services is incalculable. In addition to housing discrimination, our clients face isolation, dependence on others for care, immobility, cognitive decline, depression, or lack of access to transportation and services.
Most of the older people we serve live in poverty. Many have difficulty communicating in English. Some are raising their grandchildren who have been abandoned, neglected. Some are homebound, disabled, sick.
Your gift of support does so much. You prevent homelessness, elder abuse, financial exploitation, poverty. You keep intergenerational families together, help grandparents raise grandchildren. You stop illegal lockouts.
You ensure older people live in safe, habitable conditions so that they can do what all of us want: to age in place, with dignity.
For every Frederica, Jeremy, Maria and Claudia, there are so many who aren’t even aware of our services. Your gift today not only supports a case load that grows every year…it helps SeniorLAW Center spread the word so that more seniors know we are here for them when they need us most.
Now that you know…the power of your SeniorLAW Center support, I hope you will make our critical work one of your priorities this year.
Today, given all our clients are up against, we would be so grateful if you would support SeniorLAW Center with a gift of $50, $75, $100…any amount you are able to consider.
Thank you again for providing for Pennsylvania’s vulnerable seniors. Thank you for believing in the mission of SeniorLAW Center.
Karen C. Buck
P.S. OUR GOAL: Seniors living in poverty must never face an eviction crisis alone. To keep this promise in Pennsylvania…we need you.
Make your tax-deductible gift right now in the enclosed envelope.
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