I am a single mom with three children, earning a monthly income of $2,100. I moved into an apartment in November 2019. I had just been evicted from my 2 bedroom in Humboldt Park area, Chicago, an area that is RIPE with gentrification. The rent was $877/month. The building had been recently renovated, and they tried to advertise as lofts/condos for sale. That neighborhood wasn’t quite ready for that yet. The building had property management, but each unit was owned by different people. The Sec.8 unit rented for $1,250, but market rent was $770-900. The property management company wanted to maximize. They claimed I “damaged” the unit. This was the loophole to terminate the lease, even though I had been in that apartment for 5 years, and that was natural where and tear. This where my EVICTION TRAIN WRECK begins.
With my low income, credit score, and student loans, I realized quickly how hard it is to find housing. I wasted so much money on application fees just to be denied. I finally found my last apartment in the Austin area of Chicago. I felt pressured to take it, because I had already been to eviction court, where the property management company won because they had an attorney and I didn’t. I moved in with my dog and had an ESA letter. I informed of the pet before signing the lease. In December, I got a notice to be out by January 27, 2020.
I began a new apartment search. After only one month in a new place, the heat went out two times, the hot water was out for nearly three weeks, and the building was infested with RATS! It was so bad that we could hear them crawling in the walls at night. I was looking for a new place when the pandemic hit. My furloughed started 3/13/2020. This brings me to my main point. I appreciate the government trying to provide some rental assistance, but this problem goes way beyond that, and I do not hear anyone talking about it. If you have been evicted, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO FIND HOUSING! Most people are being evicted because they lost their job. So not only do you have a pending eviction, you have NO STABLE INCOME, and if you’re a low wage earner, 1/3 of your earnings is not enough to qualify for most property management companies.
This eviction crisis that the PANDEMIC has made ten times worse. It is extremely more dire than most understand. Say you do get rental assistance, but you’re already homeless (like me). Nobody is going to rent to you with NO JOB, LOW INCOME, and an EVICTION on your credit report. What about all the Americans that are faced with such a bleak future?
I can’t find anyone to listen. I have called my mayor, alderman, senators and representatives, and I haven’t gotten a response from anybody. I don’t expect the government to take care of me and my kids. I just need a hand. Yes, I’m on every affordable housing waitlist. I understand this isn’t an issue that will be fixed overnight. But WE need someone to tell our story and bring it to the forefront!