I have set up a GoFundMe page to help my family and I to avoid eviction and homelessness. We have an eviction date of June 1st 2013. We have until then to secure financing and the associated expenses so that we can stay in our home or to find somewhere to go. We have a lead on possible financing, with some money to put toward it. But there are so many extra expenses that keep cropping up, and we really need to be ready for anything.
Some moments change your life forever. They sneak up behind you unnoticed, and steal from you the life that was, until that moment, all that you knew. We've all had them. One of my moments was in October of 2000. What started out as a typical evening, dinner, putting the kids to bed, planning a Halloween party, ended with my husband in prison, my family without an income, and my world shattered like so much glass around my bare feet. My husband of ten years had been sexually abusing our daughter. He went to prison for 12 years, leaving us with no income, and me with no degree, no job skills, social phobia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a deep, black depression, having to care for my two children and their anxiety and PTSD on my own.
So for the next eight years, I paid the bills with money from SSI disability that my children and I received. My daughter struggled with OCD, ADD, and PTSD, and my son, despite visits to specialists in Boston at Children's Hospital and NEMC, could not get a specific diagnosis for his learning disability. But in late June of 2008, our clothes dryer caught fire, destroying PVC pipes and wiring, leaving us without power, telephone and water.
We spent the first few days with friends and family, and the next five months in a Super 8 motel. Our homeowners' insurance was through Liberty Mutual. Their policy is that the customer has to pay for everything up front, and then they will reimburse you for whatever you spend. Well, that strategy might work well for the typical middle class person, but for a low-income family without credit cards, it's unrealistic. We couldn't even pay for a night in the motel. Liberty Mutual advanced us a couple of hundred dollars, though, which worked at first.
But the longer we were there and unable to cook anything beyond microwaved food, the more difficult it was. I couldn't pay the regular bills, feed the family and pay the motel bill at the same time. The front desk clerk didn't speak much English, and even though the desk manager and I both asked him not to charge me until I told him that the reimbursement money from Liberty Mutual was in my debit account, he kept charging me anyway. The owner even explained it to him in his native Indian, but apparently he still didn't understand. So he ran up hundreds of dollars worth of overdraft fees on my account. By the time we left the motel, we had fallen so far behind on the mortgage that they were threatening foreclosure.
So over the next few months, we worked with the mortgage company on an adjustment. Everything seemed to be going well, until they would only accept a down payment through Western Union. My bank wouldn't allow a Western Union transfer that large unless I did it at the bank in person. So the guy on the phone at the mortgage company, Ocwen, told me to fax them the paperwork and send the money as soon as I could. I faxed the paperwork. But at this point, I was so emotionally and physically drained that I just couldn't get to the bank immediately, and I missed a deadline, which they'd never mentioned. They voided the adjustment and started a new one, but meanwhile they continued the foreclosure. So the foreclosure went through before the adjustment did, they auctioned the house, and MassHousing bought it. This was in April of 2010.
Through all of this, Liberty Mutual wouldn't cut a check for the repairs without Ocwen's name on it as an additional payee. And Ocwen insisted that in order to cash it, I would have to sign it over to them. So the check went uncashed and the repairs went undone. Since then, we've been trying to work with MassHousing to get a mortgage and get the repairs done. We were approved for a loan, but since the repairs hadn't been done, we couldn't get insurance, and we couldn't close. MassHousing didn't want to spend money to do repairs. Meanwhile, without maintenance, the main roof and the porch roof began to leak. The leak is so bad that it's damaging the interior at this point.
Last fall we managed to get a check without Ocwen's name on it, but by then the bank that had previously approved us had stopped that particular loan program, and had nothing to offer us. So we searched for alternative loans. We found the USDA Rural Housing Loan program, and we've been going through the application process. But apparently it's not going quickly enough for MassHousing. So they took us to court and had us sign an agreement to make an offer by the end of April or move out June 1st. We made an offer, but they rejected it out of hand because they didn't think we would get funding soon enough for their liking.
Meanwhile, my son has FINALLY gotten a solid diagnosis of Anxiety, ADHD, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). PPD-NOS is an autism spectrum disorder, and is sometimes referred to as “atypical autism” because it doesn't quite fit the diagnostic criteria for typical autism. Also, my daughter's best friend's family was evicted from their apartment, so she and her pets have been living with us.
So this is where we are now. Our options are limited. Since I do have a lead on a possible loan source, staying here might be a possibility after all. Otherwise, we need to find an apartment here, or possibly move out to the SF East Bay area, where we have family, and find an apartment there. Neither apartment situation is ideal, and both would likely require re-homing pets. My daughter has two cats, and her friend has two cats and a dog. And neither area is likely to have pet-friendly apartments large enough to fit all of us. Most of the apartments in my area are 1- and 2-bedroom units. Larger apartments tend to be in college towns, and generally out of our price range. I have been on the waiting list for Section 8 housing for two years, but the list is seven years long.
My daughter is also scheduled for surgery this Friday. She has needed a tonsillectomy for years, but her pediatricians refused to refer her for one. At this point, her tonsils are so bad that they bleed every day, and they fill with foul smelling tonsil stones.
As you can see, we are in an emergency situation, and are in desperate need to any kind of assistance anyone can offer.