Three years ago, Mary and her dog moved to West Virginia to support her niece, who was pregnant with twins at the time.
“I’m the only family she has left,” says Mary. “I was planning to retire, so this seemed like perfect timing, and I could help her and her husband with their little girls.”
After moving, Mary found a pet-friendly apartment downtown where she could walk most places she needed to go, and as a bonus, she really liked her new landlord, who happens to be an attorney in town.
In June 2022, Mary was struggling to pay her rent on top of all of her other bills on her limited income. One day, her landlord mentioned that West Virginia had options through the Mountaineer Rental Assistance Program (MRAP) for renters to get help.
Mary reached out to Legal Aid of West Virginia (LAWV), where she connected with an attorney who helped get together everything she needed to apply for rental assistance.
“With the cooperation of the landlord, we investigated the client’s MRAP eligibility and prepared her application,” says LAWV Attorney Carolyn Beyer. “Within a month, she was approved, keeping her in stable housing where she was allowed to keep her dog.”
The assistance included three months of rent payment, allowing Mary to catch up on some of her other bills. She has been able to stay current on her utilities and rent since working with LAWV.
“I’ve never been in that position where I needed assistance. I didn’t know anything about legal aid,” says Mary. “Working with Carolyn was wonderful. She was very thoughtful and explained everything to me from the process to the status of things. She was professional, and the rent was paid directly to my landlord, so the experience was painless.”
Mary is still living in her apartment, near her niece’s family, and she has been able to watch her niece’s twins grow—a true treasure in her life.