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The Jurado Family’s Fight for a Healthier Home

Photo of Jurado family in their home.

Every day, Children’s Law Center helps DC families like the Jurados, whose unhealthy housing conditions and son’s disability discrimination required our immediate advocacy.

Pervasive humidity and mold in the family’s apartment endangered the health of twelve-year-old Elmer and nine-year-old Jonathan. Before and during the pandemic, their mother, Mrs. Jurado, cleaned daily to try and stop the spread of the mold. Still, the boys’ mattresses rotted, and their bedroom walls were wet to the touch.

When Mrs. Jurado contracted the coronavirus and quarantined in recovery for more than a month, the effects of the mold became even more dangerous: Elmer and Jonathan developed skin rashes and Elmer had difficulty breathing. The problem was so serious that the family were forced to relocate to the living room and sleep on inflatable mattresses – all at a time when families are spending the majority of their days indoors.

Like far too many families across the District, the Jurados struggled to get their landlord to fix their home’s terrible conditions – until a referral through our medical-legal partnership with Mary’s Center brought the family’s case to our attention.

Children’s Law Center attorney Kate Rheaume immediately reached out to the Jurados, used FaceTime to see the extent of the damage in their home and filed a demand letter – finally motivating the building’s representatives to make all necessary repairs.

“The boys feel so much better now,” shares Mrs. Jurado. “They are so happy to sleep in their own beds again.”

And when we learned that the building’s landlord refused to let Elmer keep his service dog, Junior, we again went the distance to advocate for his well-being.

“At a time when Elmer’s learning challenges were exacerbated by the absence of his regular routines, classmates, teachers and aides, it became clear to us just how much Elmer depended on Junior to help him connect with others,” shares Kate.

Knowing that the family had a legal right to keep Junior, we filed a complaint with DC’s Office of Human Rights on the grounds of disability discrimination – and just a few days later, the landlord agreed to let Elmer keep his service dog.

Today, breathing easier in a healthy home and reunited with their service dog, the family is able to enjoy a new start. “I’m really grateful to everyone who helped us,” shares Mrs. Jurado.