Listening to one of my clients the other day I felt like she had been through the impossible. I have heard my share of horror stories as a case worker but this one took the cake. She is low income, trying to raise two kids, and struggles just to pay the rent each month. We set her up with as many services as we could to help make ends meet but this meeting left me dumbfounded. She told me that she had no water in her apartment for two weeks and that her heat was only working sporadically. As soon as she told me that I called my supervisor to see what action could be taken. As a property owner it is your responsibility to keep up with your property. We learned with just a few calls that the water had been shut off due to non payment and this was the full responsibility of the owner. After speaking to this person, we also learned that he really had no intention of having the HVAC system serviced. He said it worked fine and that the tenant was just needy. Yes, in fact she was! But not in the way he meant. I set about finding her temporary housing that was clean, warm, and in her budget. We found some volunteers to move her and filed a judgement against the owner of the other building. He lost all assistance payments for rent that the government was paying and was added to a list of slumlords in the area. Just because someone has little income is not a reason to deprive them of basic human needs. Heat in the winter, especially with small children, can be a life saving item.