Sometimes bureaucracy and geography can have serious life consequences.

A family at our Brooklyn sanctuary site, Fortitude House, learned that their court case/master hearing had been scheduled in Cleveland, Ohio — miles away.

Donika Prelvukaj, LMSW, Program Director at our Bergen Street Residence, reached out to the court to ask for a virtual hearing instead. The court refused this proposal and insisted on an in-person appearance. Failure to show up could mean risk of deportation.

To transfer her case to New York, our client would have needed to file a motion-to-change-venue form. This document is difficult to navigate, but with the help of an attorney friend, Donika and her client were able to complete it.

Unfortunately, there was another catch.

The form needed to be mailed out two weeks in advance, at minimum. We were 10 days away from the court hearing.

After searching for transportation options, Donika located a 14-hour bus ride to Cleveland, Ohio. Our client was determined to journey there and back with her eight-year-old son in tow. She planned to leave around midnight to get there on time.

Donika felt there had to be another way. After calling the courts again and strongly advocating for the form to be accepted electronically, Donika gained permission to fax it over. Her client’s court case was successfully transferred to New York!

The client was thrilled, and Donika was grateful to have averted a potential crisis.