Josie met Ben while they were both in recovery housing, and they began living together two years later. Over time, Ben became abusive and controlling, and repeatedly assaulted her. When Josie would try to leave, Ben would threaten suicide, once going so far as shooting himself in the head. Ben’s family would always plead with her not to leave him, and so she stayed. Despite his physical abuse, repeated assaults, and controlling behavior, Josie stayed with Ben until the day he drank himself to death.

The day she learned of Ben’s death, Josie was at her mother’s house. When she returned to their home, she found that the landlady’s daughter had locked her out. It turned out that Ben had lied to the Housing Authority of Clackamas County about his household composition and left her off of his Section 8 Voucher when they moved into the home. Josie was now homeless!

Josie reached out to Clackamas Housing Rights and Resources, who referred her to legal aid. Legal aid represented Josie, asserting her rights under the Violence Against Women’s Act and fair housing law, and requested that the Housing Authority grant her surviving household member status and give her the voucher. The Housing Authority granted the request in mid-March, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the intake process was delayed for several months. Josie finally got her voucher in July 2020, and she is now able to live independently and safely for the first time. Josie said, “I don’t know where I would be now without the help of legal aid. They gave me a second chance at life – I am safe and happy again!”

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