Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership

Medically Fragile Child & Broken A/C

Recently, a new client was referred to JALA’s Medical Legal Partnership. The client’s daughter is a person with disabilities including spastic cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder.

The a/c unit in our client’s apartment stopped working and he requested immediate repair and told management that her daughter was at risk of serious seizures, and even stroke if the temperatures in the apartment unit rose too high.

The Landlord informed our client that no emergency repair would be made, as work orders are handled in the order they are received. JALA’s Fair Housing Unit requested the emergency be addressed with reasonable accommodation of an immediate repair to the a/c unit or provision of a portable a/c unit, at no cost to our client.

NFMLP was able to secure a letter from the Client’s doctor stating the emergency need for air conditioning in the unit. The Landlord did repair the a/c unit a few hours after receiving JALA’s request for reasonable accommodation (after having made no repair for more than three days).

Helping a Mentally Disabled Adult Become Independent

Kay and a friend of hers made an appointment with JALA after the electricity was cut off from her house and the mortgage company threatened to evict her. Kay, mentally disabled since birth, was 59-years-old and had never received assistance of any kind for her disabilities. She was also caring for her 92-year-old mother with dementia.

Kay met with JALA attorney Katy DeBriere to work together on getting her qualified for emergency aid through the Department of Child and Families. Over the course of several months, Katy maneuvered the red tape and assisted getting Kathy qualified for Medicaid. With this new assistance, Kathy was able to receive help from a life coach, a job coach and a social worker. 

Today, Kay lives independently, happily works at Publix, and is involved in her neighborhood church. She receives regular medical care, psychological evaluations and assistance, and her mother is cared for in an assisted living facility.

Family of 7 with Disabilities seek to resolve Handicap Vehicle Issues with their Neighborhood HOA

The Banks Family has seven members living in their home. The father is permanently disabled and has a service dog to assist with basic tasks. The mother serves as the caretaker for everyone. As a result, she developed anxiety and depression.

The family’s neighborhood HOA has insisted that the four vehicles in front of their home must be removed or relocated. There is not room in the garage for a vehicle, nor is there a restriction in the neighborhood stating a limit on vehicles on the property. The HOA has threatened to tow their cars and refuses to meet to agree upon reasonable accommodations.

Because of the family’s medical issues, they have use for all four vehicles and rely on them, especially in case of emergencies. The mother and father each have a vehicle, and their oldest two sons have cars as well.

Their oldest son has disabilities from birth defects. The second son has an abnormal connection between his esophagus and the trachea and also had his leg amputated due to Metastatic Ewing’s Sarcoma (cancer). He uses a prosthetic or wheelchair for mobility.

Their 13-year-old son suffers from severe Autism. The youngest two children, ages five and four were adopted and were previously exposed to a wide array of physical abuse and drugs and alcohol from their biological parents.

JALA helped the family receive Medicaid for their children and are in the process of working with them and the neighborhood HOA to agree upon reasonable accommodations.


Voucher Tenant with Disabled Sons is saved from Moving



Mr. Jones, a voucher tenant, had rented his home for about six years. The property was recently purchased by a new management company, which raised the rent above the amount provided for by the voucher.

Mr. Jones is in the midst of a series of back surgeries and also cares for his two disabled children and was not able to move. JALA worked with the Jacksonville Housing Authority to ensure the amount of Mr. Jones’s voucher was increased to cover the amount of rent at his current complex.

JALA will continue to assist Mr. Jones when the surgeries are completed, as he is in need of larger housing to accommodate his two disabled sons who must have separate rooms as a result of his disability.