A local housing complex, established to provide affordable housing for low-income residents, referred two families to the Eviction Prevention Program. Both families had been engaged in an extended feud that had resulted in multiple complaints to the management, by all members of both families and by other residents in the complex, as well as to the Providence Police. Frustrated by its inability to dispel the fighting between the families, the management staff in the housing complex let the families know that they were both facing eviction unless they were willing to work on the issues in a mediated setting.
CMCRI staff then engaged in several weeks of behind the scenes shuttle diplomacy to promote trust in and understanding of the process, to perform intakes, and to get all parties to agree to come to the table. On the day of the mediation the parties refused to look at one another and tensions ran high. Both families had several years of grievances they wished to discuss. The conversation took a turning point, however, when the mediator asked the adults in each family why they were there. All acknowledged that maintaining the housing situation was important to the economic survival of their families. With the assistance of the mediator, the parents were able to identify shared frustrations, shared concerns, and common goals. Common concerns revolved around the stability of their families, the success and safety of their children, and wanting to feel at home in the complex.
After an extended mediation session, the parties identified many solutions for jointly resolving the problem, one of which included putting in a request that the complex management allow the smaller of the two families to move to an apartment anticipated to be vacant within a month. The family members also discussed expectations and conduct when they crossed paths both within and outside the complex. The session concluded with the parties all shaking hands, the tension visibly gone from the group.