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Howard helps new mom fight eviction order in Newark

NEWARK, N.J. — Jumaanah King has a big problem. She has been caught in a squeeze between social services and her landlord.

Jumaanah is a TSA employee, but she’s been on disability with back trouble after giving birth and she fell three months behind in the rent at her Newark apartment. Her landlord, RPM Development, understandably wanted to give her the boot. But then Essex County Social Services stepped in and agreed to pay her back rent and the current one.

A solution, right? In a normal world, yes. But not in Newark.

Essex County social services wouldn’t write the check or guarantee payment unless it saw a document from RPM voiding the eviction. The landlord wouldn’t void the eviction unless it got a guarantee of payment. So the mother and baby were going to be evicted because they were caught between these two forces.

Is that really the way the system is supposed to work? It’s ridiculous. So is the fact that I actually got voicemail at Essex County social services telling me not to leave a voicemail! Your tax dollars at work here.

I went around with several people on both sides of this. It finally wound up in court. I went into a judge’s chambers with King and she stayed the eviction. King is due back in court on Monday. The landlord has to show cause on why she should be evicted when the money is available to pay her debt in full.

The judge can’t be happy to have to deal with something that shouldn’t be taking up his time in court in the first place.