We first met Cokeitha in May of 2011. At that time, she and her son were living with her mother and sister. Her mother was being sued in eviction court after a long dispute with their landlord over much-needed building repairs. Our legal staff was able to get the case dismissed, but the relationship with the landlord had deteriorated such that the negotiated settlement also required that the family move out of the apartment.
At the same time, Cokeitha’s father was also looking to move, so Cokeitha made plans to live with her dad and they found a nice apartment where they thought they would be happy. Given the circumstances, everything seemed to be working out fine, until suddenly and unexpectedly, a few weeks before they were set to move, Cokeitha’s father died. Heartbroken and grieving, she knew she was not able to afford the new apartment on her own. Her new landlord was understanding and allowed her to break the lease, but now Cokeitha found herself without a home. Cokeitha and her son stayed temporarily with family and friends, but not wanting to be a burden, she quickly found a very small apartment with a short-term lease for her and her son. A few months later, she found a better, larger apartment and has been living there happily ever since.
Earlier this year, unfortunately, Cokeitha had a car accident which forced her to cut her hours as an in-home care provider. Eventually she had to stop working altogether until her injuries healed and her doctor released her to go back to work. This made it very, very difficult to stay current with paying rent, and she fell two months behind. Understanding that this was not her landlord’s problem, she tried to work out an agreement to pay the back rent she owed and then to move out. However, the landlord, not satisfied with the plan, said she would need to evict Cokeitha in court if the rent wasn’t caught up sooner.
Cokeitha reached out to LCBH for assistance. She remembered the great job LCBH had done for her and her mother in 2011 and knew the agency would try to be there for her again. Cokeitha, while working with the legal team, also met with the LCBH Supportive Services Director, John Paul Beals. John Paul felt Cokeitha’s situation might be a good fit for a Chicago Foundation for Women/Eleanor Foundation program that helps single working mothers in situations like this. John Paul contacted his colleague at the foundation and confirmed that Cokeitha was qualified for the program. The foundation was able to provide funds for Cokeitha to pay her landlord for the back rent and to pay the few months’ rent until she was able to go back to work. As a result of this, her landlord, now able to collect rent again and avoid going to court, was happy to let Cokeitha and her son stay in the apartment.
Through the networks LCBH has established with great organizations in the community, we are able to connect someone like Cokeitha with exactly the help she needed and to help avoid homelessness. We want to thank the Chicago Foundation for Women/Eleanor Foundation for their ongoing relationship with LCBH and their excellent service to women. Cokeitha is very thankful too, “Every time I think of you guys it brings tears to my eyes. You guys took the biggest burden off of my shoulders.”
For more information about the Chicago Foundation for Women/Eleanor Foundation please visit http://www.cfw.org/eleanor-network-at-cfw-official-page