The King County (Washington) Bar Association's Housing Justice Project (HJP) is a homelessness-prevention program providing accessible, volunteer-based legal services for low-income tenants facing eviction. Brent Droze has volunteered many hours with HJP and recounts receiving an unexpected thank-you note recently from a former client:
"I'm not sure how she tracked me down," he says, "but a nice handwritten letter arrived at my office. In the letter, she thanked me for the researched letter I'd written to her landlord on her behalf—a letter which took the air out of the landlord's complaints and allowed her to maintain stable housing. She remarked that her ability to maintain housing, without the specter of landlord conflict or potential eviction hanging over her head, gave her strength to continue her thus-far unsuccessful search for gainful employment. I think that made me realize that for me, volunteering at HJP was just a weekday morning away from the grind of work, but for her it was everything.
"Oftentimes we measure our success at the HJP if we're able to maintain housing for someone, but I think it goes much further than just keeping a roof over someone's head. Housing can provide second and third order effects on a person's ability to function in society—it provides dignity, hope, and strength to keep going. Although I don't remember the exact details of the work I performed on her behalf, I don't think I'll soon forget how thankful she was. That note was more than enough to validate my decision to take time away from client work to assist HJP in its important mission!"