Brownsville Herald – Medical joins with legal to aid clients

Maria Castilleja’s heart sunk, she says, when housing authorities threatened to oust her out from her apartment because she for-got to report a $5 increment in food stamp benefits.

Castilleja, 58, had been living at Paseo de Plaza apartments on Paredes Line for at least three years under Section 8, a federal housing program that provides assistance to low-income renters and homeowners. The eviction notice came in the mail for her in May — nearly a year after her food stamp benefits increased by a few dollars, as they do every year, she said.

“The letter said I had failed to report an increase in benefits, and that we had 30 days to get out. It was only a few dollars. I had completely forgotten to report it,” said Castilleja, who took in her three grandchildren after her daughter died of cancer seven years ago. “I was desperate, we had nowhere to go. … I cried a lot.”

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