Like many of us, Eddie Love knows his home from top to bottom, inside and out. He knows where the creaks in the floor are and how the sun feels shining through each of the windows. He’s lived in his North Philadelphia home since birth and only needs his touch and memory to navigate. Eddie Love is blind.
A stable home and reliable support system in his neighborhood has allowed Eddie, who is a wheelchair user due to cerebral palsy, to live a happy and secure life. However, following the death of his mother, Eddie faced the very real possibility of losing it all.
Even though Eddie maintained the house paying all expenses and taxes out of his own pocket, when his mother died without a will his siblings, save one, pushed to eject Eddie from his home. His one supportive sister wished for Eddie to stay, believing that forcing Eddie to move would kill him.
The Legal Clinic for the Disabled intervened and Esther Miller, Managing Attorney, assigned the case to two volunteer attorneys from Pepper Hamilton LLP. Kathleen Stephenson, Of Counsel, and Connie Lee, Associate, agreed to represent Eddie in Philadelphia Orphans’ Court proceedings.
The case, which would take two years to complete, saw Kathleen and Connie volunteering over 140 hours of advocacy work.
“Since Eddie is blind and has limited mobility, he often relies on his support network to help him read through paperwork and ensure he is signing only things he understands,” said Connie. “While this dynamic required a bit more assistance from our end, Eddie was always lovely to work with and his sister and friend were always willing to help us when we needed it.”
Following various filings, communications with opposing counsel and a court hearing, Eddie and the other parties were able to arrive at an agreement, allowing Eddie to remain in the comforts of the home in which he has lived his whole life.
“Eddie is very happy that he can remain in his home,” said Kathleen.
Connie added, “LCD has been incredibly helpful along the way. Esther Miller and Niki Ludt reached out to us every few weeks to check in and ask how they could support us. As we were preparing for worst case scenarios, including the real possibility of ejectment, LCD helped us look into alternative housing options and connected us to the appropriate community organizations.”
Kathleen continued, “LCD’s institutional and community knowledge helped make Eddie’s case a success. The partnership between LCD and Pepper has been invaluable.”
For information on how to become a volunteer with LCD, please click here.