"Giving Up is Not an Option…" – Community Pillar Award
Sherika, her husband and 4 children were living in a garage when they came to Associated Ministries for assistance. They were misplaced from their home because the landlord they previously rented from lost his property in foreclosure. They had decent income between the two of them and just needed help getting into a new place to live.
“When you have a family of 6 and are homeless it is impossible to come up with the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent and a deposit. Being homeless is expensive,” Sherika said during our intake appointment. During the foreclosure process they ended up with an eviction on her record making it nearly impossible to find a landlord willing to rent to them. They tried to locate the landlord to make payments to clear up the judgment. They were unsuccessful in doing so. Landlords will consider renting to someone with an eviction if the previous landlord was paid off. It is hard to find a 3 bedroom home or apartment to rent with that mark on your record.
Once they entered our Rapid Re-housing program, Sherika contacted over 25 landlords within the first month. That is a full time job in itself, let alone working full time and raising 4 kids in a garage. I saw the hope and excitement she had in her eyes once she found someone who said they may work with her. More often than not, landlords asked her to fill out an application and pay the screening fee even after explaining her situation to them and quickly got denied. If they were willing to rent to her, the judgment had to be paid off first.
She was exhausted and ready to give up about a month and a half into the program. When she came in to meet with me, she broke down from exhaustion and her hope had vanished. The confidence to protect her family had diminished.
“I am letting my family down; no one will give me a chance. I work 40 hours a week, do my best to take care of the kids and stay strong. Giving up is not an option but no one will give me a chance.”
That is where landlord Yong Kim comes in. She let me know about a 3-bedroom duplex that would be available in a couple of weeks. I told her about Sherika and she was willing to rent to her family. Her husband, who is a subcontractor, fixed the unit up within days. Sherika was able to move out of the cold garage and into a warm, safe home. Mrs. Kim is always willing to look past our clients’ barriers and gives people a chance when no one else will work with them. She has also taken on many families with no questions asked.
Housing is a right – not a privilege, and with landlords like Mrs. Kim and her husband, we are one step closer to ending the homelessness epidemic.