On Thursday, the now conservative supreme court in the United States has blocked President Biden’s COVID moratorium, which means Millions of people will now face eviction. I have mixed feelings about it. I once was a landlord. I once was a homeowner. I once came close to being homeless. I once was houseless. I lost it all, not just once but three times. (Yes, I promise, will start writing about it.)
Years ago we were sitting at a conference table at a mortgage company. We were buying our first home. We were nervous, proud, and terrified. We initialed, and signed one paper after the next.
“No pay, no stay,” the lady said with a monotone voice while reading some of the small print about fees, late payments, and foreclosure. Four words summed it all up. We were allowed to pretend to own a house as long as we would pay for it, and in a faraway future, after 26 years of regular monthly payments, the house would be really ours for the first time.
No pay, no stay! The same goes for renting a place. I remember the day I moved into a very small apartment in Vienna. It was the cheapest, and cleanest one I had found. It was within walking distance of the university, and everything I needed was close by. A small room with a tiny bath. A sink, a fridge and a stovetop were built in the hallway. Tiny, but mine. Cheap but still more than I could afford. No pay, no stay! I was aware of the fact that I had to make the money, or I would be living in my banged-up beetle. 19 years old, with no family, I was doomed to make it on my own.
I want to help the people, who with no fault of their own fell behind paying rent. How quickly it sums up to become an amount you just can’t afford anymore. Food, or housing? Of course, you go for the food, especially if you have little ones who depend on you. You even go for the food if you are alone. Feeling hungry is no fun. Car or house. You can live in a car, but you can’t drive a house. Also a no-brainer. In the United States, you have to have a car.
I can’t find a helper, we have a labor shortage. I can’t get all the work supplies I need, and what I get is now overpriced. The labor shortage is to blame. How can we have a labor shortage? How can people make more money sitting at home than the ones who get up and go to work. Do I sound cruel? Perhaps I am.
We pay our bills and nothing is being handed to us, nothing but stimulus money we didn’t need but used anyway. We deserved it. Did we?
When there is no help, you have to help yourself or you drown. Generations of Americans and people all over the world have lived through it. Working two, sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. Working the nightshift and going straight to the university. I did it and would highly recommend it. It’s a special kind of tired when you don’t sleep enough but you feel proud at the same time.
I don’t want people to be put on the streets. I wish all the cases would be decided case by case. Whenever there is a one-fit-all solution, it never fits all. The innocent will always get hurt. There is hardship and there is cruelty. Evicting the old and sick just like the young and healthy. Do we ever make sense?
Millions will start living in their cars, they will get waivers to live in cheap, run-down motels. We already have half a million homeless people. How many will we have after an avalanche of evictions?
We were not prepared for a pandemic. We are not humane, civilized, or honest enough to deal with the aftermath. Whenever there is free money, some will milk the system and some who would be entitled will not come forward.
We owned a double mobile home for a short while. When we rented it out, it hurt us when the renters stopped paying on time. Most landlords depend on the money, not all are rich, a fact we often overlook. Houses used as retirement income. What happens if the landlord can’t pay the mortgage because he is not getting the rent?
Women, especially single moms are the ones who suffer the most. Many lost their job because the childcare centers closed and they had to stay home with their kids. How unfair it would be to evict them. The didn’t do anything wrong. What were they supposed to do?
Canceling the housing debt, how would it work and how would it make the people feel who paid the rent all the time -even then when it was hard.
I have so many questions, yet no answers.
What should we do as a community? As a nation? As neighbors? As Believers? As humans?
Do I know anybody who will face eviction? I don’t even know. Would I help? I don’t know that either.
Gosh, all the memories and emotions I am feeling. I need to write about it.
There is a smile at the end of the tunnel. That I know for sure.