Jane, who is 59-years-old, suffers from various physical and mental impairments, some quite serious. She lives alone in a federally subsidized, studio apartment. The private development where Jane lives is large and the management company provides a resident coordinator. An annual inspection revealed a great deal of clutter in Jane’s apartment.
The landlord’s resident coordinator initially tried to help Jane with her clutter problem by arranging for the services of an occupational therapist. The OT guided Jane for several months in an effort to organize the clutter, but this only had a marginal improvement. The resident coordinator didn't realize that Jane’s MassHealth medical insurance meant she qualified for heavy chore and ongoing homemaker services. When the OT services alone did not address the clutter adequately, the landlord moved to evict Jane.Jane turned to MWLS for help to prevent the eviction. MWLS assisted Jane in raising an anti-discrimination defense based on her disability and formally requested a reasonable accommodation on Jane’s behalf so she could pursue a more comprehensive approach to dealing with the clutter. Being familiar with MassHealth, MWLS was quick to obtain daily homemaker and heavy chore services for Jane. MWLS also arranged for Jane to see a therapist at her home regularly.
The landlord was convinced that Jane could not live in the community even with support, and the case went to trial. Following testimony by Jane’s doctor, MWLS was able to convince the judge that this new treatment plan, which included homemaker services for the first time, was reasonable. Not long after, Jane had eliminated most of the clutter and her apartment passed a complete inspection by the local board of health.