Maricopa County Human Services Department employees often remark that one of the most rewarding aspects of their jobs is meeting and helping people in the community. Due to the nature of the services provided, sometimes the Human Services employees are meeting community members when they are facing a serious situation, or are in crisis.
Client Services Specialist Roy Valenzuela Lerma is part of the Maricopa County Human Services Department team who works with residents facing eviction. Despite having the difficult task of assisting residents who are facing eviction, Roy has learned that a positive approach to his work is helpful to both the people he serves and himself.
Roy came to assist a Maricopa County resident by the name of Peggy. She was on the verge of being locked out of her apartment by the landlord for failing to pay her rent. She had applied for rental assistance through Maricopa County, which does require cooperation from the landlord for payment. This safeguard is embedded into the program to ensure that the landlord is aware that the renter is making a good-faith effort to become current and to ensure the application is not fraudulent.
Despite multiple calls from a case manager assisting Peggy with her application, the landlord wasn’t willing to complete the necessary verification form that would allow her application to be approved and the rent to be paid. In a last-ditch attempt, Peggy reached out to Maricopa County’s Human Services Department for help. That’s where she met Roy.
Roy was assigned to Peggy’s case and personally contacted her landlord. Unlike the previous attempts, the landlord listened to Roy as he explained Peggy’s dire situation. This time, impressed by Roy’s positive demeanor, the landlord was willing to assist with the verification she needed and even remarked about how nice it was to work with Roy.
With the signed form from her landlord, Peggy was able to receive emergency assistance for her rent to bring her account current. Due to Roy’s intervention, and his caring and professional approach, Peggy no longer had to worry about losing her home.
If you or someone you know can benefit from the assistance programs provided by Maricopa County’s Human Services Department, visit Maricopa.gov/HelpWithBills.