Congratulations to Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) volunteer John Roman of Keller, Sloan, Roman & Holland! In his first pro bono case with HAP, he reached a creative, thoughtful outcome for a 76 year-old woman facing eviction. The tenant’s mentally ill grandson had nowhere else to go at night and slept on her floor. Though he was supposed to leave during the day, he sometimes lingered outside and engaged other residents in the complex. Though he is good natured, the landlord filed an unlawful detainer case alleging nuisance.
The landlord offered to dismiss if the grandson stopped coming to the property but Roman could not in good conscience “save his client from homelessness but doom her grandson to it.” He persuaded the landlord to delay the proceedings while he sought a solution, then pulled in local resources for help: the Mobile Crisis Treatment Team for a psychiatric assessment; crisis care centers; and a medical center. He was committed to solving a “problem that is not easily addressed through San Francisco’s mental health mechanisms,” sometimes leaving mental health workers unable to help even when they want to. Roman persuaded his client’s grandson to voluntarily enter a two-week inpatient program, and hopes to get him into longer-term treatment afterwards so that Roman can seek independent housing for him.
Roman negotiated a settlement agreement in which his client’s grandson is not allowed in her home when he is exhibiting symptoms of his mental illness, but may visit during his periodic lucid, stable times. The landlord has dismissed the eviction case.
The Justice & Diversity Center applauds Roman, a San Francisco native who attended Saint Ignatius and USF Law, for giving back to his home community as a lawyer!