UPDATE:  The CDC eviction moratorium has ended.  Read The Eviction Lab's FAQ to learn more.

Susan H. B.

Cincinnati, OH
July 26th, 2021|

I have actually lost my home to the government THREE TIMES In my lifetime.

When I was in college, my grandmother added my name to the deed on her home, because she wanted to make sure I always had a place to live. She had lived through The Great Depression and she always maintained that a fully paid off home is a resource to keep, as housing can be lost easily during tough times. When she needed care in a nursing home, I had to relinquish the home to Medicaid to use for her care. I got nothing and had to move an apartment but I was 20 years old, in college, and knew nothing about how to address policies designed to take your home.

Fast forward to 1993, after 18 years of marriage and two children I went through a divorce- my husband got our home and even though we were co-owners, I did not get my share of our home and was homeless after the divorce. My husband kept the home, rented it out and made $1400 per month for the next 15 years, all the while not giving my the funds from my share of the home. The local Domestic Relations Court would do nothing about this.

I lived in apartments for some years, and in 1999 I moved into the home I was raised in which my parents bought in 1958 (the yr I was born), and took care of both of them until their death. They left me the home in their will. Unfortunately, my father had gotten a reverse mortgage on the home which was a predatory loan. They added $80,000 in interest to the original $60,000 my father borrowed, which totaled more than the home was worth.

The company that wrote the loan went out of business during the mortgage loan crises, and HUD took over the loan. When my mother died they gave me a year to get a loan for the total amount, which was much more than the home was worth. I was trying to get my credit score high enough to get the loan, but no one would loan me that much on the house, as it was over the value of it. So they took over the home, and I had to move AGAIN, with nothing. Because my parents owned the home for 60 years, and I had to empty it out I needed time to work on it, as I was working during the day, and trying to go through 60 years of items. I went to my local court to ask for more time to get rid of everything, and clean out what was there. The judge gave me another 30 days, and I was assured that if I was out by then, I would not have an eviction on my record. We (my daughter and I) were out of the house by two days before the given date, and I emailed the HUD attorney in Cleveland that we had vacated. This was in October of 2019.

In January of 2020, I was applying for an apartment and I was told my the manager that I had an Eviction on my Record, even though I was assured if I vacated the house by the due date I would not have. I have called all parties involved in this, and no one will do anything about this. I am told once an eviction is on the record, it will never come off. I am now trying to rent an apartment, and No One will rent to me because of that eviction.

This is just Wrong, and unjust. I was out by the due date, and I have my emails and other proofs to as evidence to support this. In addition, the HUD attorney did not notify Duke energy that they had taken over the house, and so I got an $800 plus utility bill for service from November 2019 through March 2020, even though I was no longer living in the house, and was no longer the owner, I have come to the conclusion that the policies of the government CREATE homelessness and do little to nothing to address it, or to correct errors on their part.

I am currently looking for a less expensive apartment, but no one will rent to me because of the eviction on my record. I am 63 years old, I work at a social service job, and have for the past 20 years, I do not use drugs or substances, I am an honest and hard working person, and I do my best to pay my bills although I am one of the working poor. That $800 Duke bill is akin to $8000 on my budget, and HUD will take no responsibility for not doing their due diligence in transferring the utilities. I tried to do it when I moved, and was informed by Duke Energy that I could not transfer it, that HUD had to contact them, so I emailed the attorney letting him know this. He did nothing, and then when I tried to get utilities in my name, I could not because they notified me of the bill for utilities for the house I no longer owned, or lived in at the time of service, and that HUD did own.

I am concerned that I will be homeless again, but I’m getting used to it. When I was first divorced, I thought that I would save up and buy another home, and have a home of my own, but I have given up ever owning my own home again, or even getting out of poverty. At my age, it is too difficult, if not impossible to dig out of poverty.

As a person working in social services, I can see no logical sense for the government policies and eviction laws that create homelessness. It does nothing for society in general, and what affects each person, affects our society as a whole, and our quality of life as a country.

The eviction laws in this country need to be changed. There needs to be some other process by which landlord/tenant issues can be addressed, as an Eviction almost guarantees that no one will rent to you, and you will end up homeless. This is an issue that I would gladly spend my time working to change, if I know how to go about it. I would volunteer if knew a group or some kind of organization that works to change this. No one should go through what I have had to go through.- NO ONE. It is a shameful part of life in this country that needs to be changed. I hope to see it changed in my lifetime, but I’m afraid I have little to no faith that it will change, as there are too many entities making money from this travesty, and too much greed on the part of landlords, and the Federal Government (HUD).

It has been made plain to me in my conversations with HUD that they could care less that they took my family home, or about the grief, and anxiety, and PTSD that having to leave it, and then being homeless because of the wrongful eviction that they put on my (and my disabled daughter’s records- she was living with me at the time). The only thing I have left in my life, are my children, and my faith in God. I certainly have none in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the government, or the courts.