September 30, 2009

Housing Counseling Services

Today, we have another gem of a post from Bread for the City's Lord High Legal Director, Vytas V. Verger. Housing Counseling Services is a 2009 Good Hope Award Recipient. — ed

About 10 years ago, if you had asked me to say what I thought about Housing Counseling Services, I wouldn't have been able to actually say much good. Now, all I have to offer is this Good Hope Award, which comes up pretty short of showing the appreciation we at Bread for the City feel for the help they've given us over the years.

Housing Counseling Services, or HCS, is a tenant advocacy, tenant organizing group that has both brought us important cases and helps us constantly in representing our clients. They have spent countless nights organizing, filing and translating for tenant meetings. These meetings can be amongst the most difficult and hectic things we do. Every tenant wants to talk - usually all at once. There is always at least one extra aggressive, special or difficult tenant who wants to talk more than all the rest. The translation itself is difficult because it involves legal terminology and tenants and lawyers and everybody talking waaaaay too much.

HCS personnel have helped get building-wide inspections, acted as our liaison for dozens of clients, testified at trial, and generally made it possible for us to represent entire buildings full of people. Whenever I am asked where to go for advice on forming a tenant association or on how to find housing, I say, "Housing Counseling Services." I say it without hesitation and with immense gratitude that this outstanding organization exists and works so closely with us.


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