The world today is unfortunately such that many people struggle not only as a result of the economy, but also as a result of abusive, careless, or absentee partners. More often than not these partners are also instrumental in the suffering of children, which makes many cases encountered at shelters even more heart breaking. Some relief is offered by the country's welfare system, which allows young mothers and other destitute persons to find some way of retrieving their bearings and getting back onto their feet. This attempt is, however, often made even more complicated by unsympathetic and discriminatory landlords, such as the one in Molly and her family's case. Mr. Paladin and others like him from the same environment will have to modify how he handles situations like Molly's or face repercussions due to the non-discriminatory laws of the country. In my intervention for Molly, my aim is to use a combination of approaches, which would includ collaboration and contest to encourage Mr. Paladin not only to let Molly return to her home with her children, but also to be less discriminatory towards her and others like her.
Dynamics of the Case
The major dynamic between Molly and her landlord is one of discrimination and victim. Mr. Paladin is discriminating against Molly on the basis of her gender, her familial status, her marital status, and her source of income. Molly is an unmarried young woman with two small children. Mr. Paladin is using this to discriminate against her in terms of the "noise" he claims she makes when scolding the children. Furthermore, he evicted her as soon as he found out that her source of income was welfare, while using her familial and marital status to reinforce his discrimination against her.
As for Molly, Mr. Paladin claims that there are two unpaid rent installments. Yet, it is interesting that he made this claim only after finding out that she received income from the welfare system. Mr. Paladin therefore appears to discriminate against Molly for issues not only beyond her control, but beyond the scope of her tenancy in his building. My impression is that complaints such as the noise she makes and her lack of payment may be less than true and used only as a method to reinforce Mr. Paladin's tenuous case. There are, however, certain laws in place that protect Molly against discrimination from landlords like Mr. Paladin.
According to Project Sentinel (2014), the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA, 1968) makes discrimination against people who want to buy or rent housing. One important aspect of this law, which must be examined carefully in Molly and Mr. Paladin's case, is that there are certain types of discrimination that are allowed. These include bad credit, low income, bad tenancy history, felony conviction, and so on. Since Mr. Paladin provides housing to low-income individuals, one might temporarily disregard the "low income" allowance. Whether a tenant aims to rent or is already renting from the landlord, there are certain protected categories that a landlord may not use to discriminate. The following apply specifically to Molly's case:
Familial status refers to whether or not a household includes children under 18. Families like Molly's, where children are present, are protected from discrimination. To be protected under this category, children must live with a parent or guardian where such a parent or guardian has legal custody (Reif, 2003). In Molly's case, the children are her own and she has legal custody, having lost contact with their father for some time.
There can be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Molly is protected from discrimination by her landlord in terms of not only sexual harrassment, but also from being evicted because of his contempt for her as a woman.
This issue is closely connected to Molly's marital status. Being single, she cannot be the victim of any discrimination against her for not being married and not being part of a two-income household.
Finally, Molly's source of income is protected from discrimination. Even as a recipient of welfare income, Molly's ability to pay the rent should be the only grounds for her eviction. This is a matter that may need further investigation due to Mr. Paladin's accusation that she has not paid two rent installments.
Social Action Plan and Strategy
The desired outcomes of the strategy will concern both Mr. Paladin and Molly with her family. I will follow a combined approach of collaboration and contest. First, the most obviously desirable outcome is that Molly and her family are reinstated in her home. Second, it is desired that Mr. Paladin's discriminatory practices stop. Finally, pending the outcome of investigation into Molly's rent paying habits, it may also be desirable to help her obtain gainful employment.
My first step will therefore be to conduct interviews, of which the first will focus on Molly. The interview will revolve around Molly's ability to make ends meet during any particular month, along with paying her rent to Mr. Paladin. I will ask her about her job seeking habits, whether she has made any attempt to find gainful employment. I will also ask her weather she would be willing to let the shelter help her in this regard.
It is expected that Molly is likely to be open and honest regarding her situation, even if it is to admit that Mr. Paladin is correct about her lack of payment. It is also expected that she would be willing to find gainful employment and to let the shelter help her in this regard. The shelter will offer some protection in terms of ensuring that she will gain employment that will help her make ends meet and provide for her children. In this way, the shelter, represented by me, will collaborate with Molly to improve her situation and make her a more desirable tenant for Mr. Paladin.
Molly will also be questioned regarding the noise levels in her home. She may need assistance in taking care of and disciplining her children in a somewhat less explosive way. Pending her responses to questions in this regard, she may be referred for free of charge counseling or an assitant to help her with her household duties, at least on a temporary basis.
The second step will be an interview or a series of interviews with Mr. Paladin. It is expected that these will be somewhat more difficult than those with Molly, because of the type of person Mr. Paladin has shown himself to be. It is therefore expected that such interviews will be based upon the "contest" approach of the plan. Nevertheless, questioning will begin with apparently legitimate bases for discrimination, which revolve around Molly's ability to pay her rent and maintain some measure of order in her household.
Mr. Paladin will also be questioned about his general viewpoints regarding women, single mothers, children, welfare recipients and the like. His responses are expected to be somewhat negative and combative. This component of the interview will be mitigated with printed material regarding existing discriminatory laws as they pertain to Molly's situation. Relevant sections will be highlighted for Mr. Paladin's ease of perusal.
The next step will be to have another interview with Mr. Paladin in which Molly's plan of action is outlined in terms of assistance finding employment and assistance with her disciplinary procedures for her children. If these strategies enable us to soften Mr. Paladin to such an extent that he can be open to readmitting Molly and her children to the building, a collaborative approach with him and Molly might be possible.
This is, however, somewhat unlikely. Instead, it is anticipated that Mr. Paladin will carry on in his usual manner, being extremely negative towards Molly and others like her. In such a case, the contest approach will have to be taken further in terms of involving authoritative figures. The step that follows this eventuality will then be to seek out legal and social aid assistance.
Seeking and Implementing Remedies
The Ohio State Bar Association, for example, mentions civil legal aid, which offers legal services at no cost to individuals with a low income. Hence, I will attempt to enlist the help of a pro bono or similar type of civil service to assist Molly with her situation. Such a service can then help her and her children regain their home, particularly if it is revealed that Mr. Paladin has lied about her ability to pay the rent and making sufficient noise to disturb the neighbors.
Even if these accusations are true, however, Molly should receive the opportunity to return to her home under certain conditions, such as that she obtains work and/or works more calmly with her children. These conditions will have to be negotiated with Mr. Paladin. Legal services can also help to sue Mr. Paladin for his discriminatory methods if he is not compliant in letting Molly return to her home with her family.
In terms of social assistance, entities such as Project Sentinel (2014) offers services…