Jami Clinkscale

Jamie ClinkscaleIn the summer of 2015, Jami Clinkscale received a letter of termination of her Section 8 subsidized housing voucher. Her adult son had not been living in the residence for some time, but based on information from the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) Clinkscale was under the impression that she did not need to immediately report this fact. After notifying her caseworker at her annual redetermination she received a notice of proposed termination for failure to timely report a change in household composition. This came as a huge surprise to Jami, who believed she was fully performing her tenant obligations under CMHA’s regulations.

While Jami did not receive any utility assistance from her voucher, it did pay a great portion of her rent. Losing it would have an enormous impact on her life. For her and her 12-year-old daughter, the loss of her voucher would threaten their livelihood and potentially lead to eviction.

After reviewing the conditions of her voucher and finding conflicting statements in the language of the rules, Jami contacted the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) in hopes that they would take up her case.

“I have had six spinal surgeries in the past six years. So with me being on disability and limited income…I feel like I’m a great [self] advocate. I do have a 12 year old daughter who I continue to raise. I’m not going to allow them to do this to me without a fight,” Jami explained.

Melissa Benson is an attorney at LASC and helped Jami fight for the return of her voucher. With Benson’s aid, they were able to negotiate with CMHA to drop the proposed termination in exchange for her son taking himself out of the household.

As to her experience with LASC, Jami described her attorney as “knowledgeable and patient.” She adds that she knew she had a good case. She felt that it could be resolved if only someone listened to it. Melissa Benson and the Legal Aid Society listened.

“It’s been made easy” Jami said of Legal Aid’s representation. “You know, I don’t have to worry about, is this going to happen, am I going to lose my voucher because of whatever reason? I can relax. My daughter can still play. She doesn’t have to worry about packing up her clothes.”

For those who don’t know about Legal Aid, Jami adds that people should know that there are attorneys out there that would love to advocate on their behalf.

“They don’t have to fight alone.”

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