COVID-19 Housing Stories

We heard your stories, this is what we learned:

“I am exhausted.”

I have been terribly been impacted by the crisis. I live in an apartment complex. The office seems to have forgotten about repairs. I have had to suffer repairs not being finished and air conditioning/electric malfunctions. Plumbing repairs were done in our bathtub and not formally closed back up. It remains unfinished. I have attempted to move out, but the office staff makes accusations to defer other companies from accepting me. I am exhausted, trying to find a place to live. While I wait, I’m facing an eviction. The apartment community is harassing my family with accusations of violation after violation. It is all false. 

TC

“All I can do is cry.”

I do not have access to in-home internet, so staying in contact with housing assistance programs, funding, grants, or any other program I may be eligible for is impossible. Everything needs to be submitted online. I have limited amounts of money for my children, and I’m now eight months past due on my rent and car payment. I can no longer afford my car insurance and had to cancel it. I have hardly been able to afford utilities. My credit score is now 480 from a 700. The collection calls won’t stop, and it is making me unbelievably anxious and severely depressed. Three years ago, my house burnt to the ground. It was a total loss. My children and I were getting back on our feet and starting to feel at home after moving nine times since the fire. Now, once again, I find myself so emotionally exhausted from the headache of taking on all this stress as a struggling single mom. I don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. All I can do is cry. I fear the longer this crisis goes on, I might never recover what I’ve lost. My kids and I may soon end up in a shelter or separated, because of my inability to provide an affordable, stable home.

Chelsea

“I have been harassed.”

My landlord is trying to evict me in spite of the CDC order. I have been harassed by the company’s employees. The company has not turned on the heat in the apartments, even though it is November.

Aldo

“There’s no such thing as affordable housing that’s decent and safe here.”

I’m 31-years-old and disabled. I have been continuously trying to get in contact with many of the Emergency Assistance Agencies offering to help with rent and utilities, but I have been unsuccessful in doing so. I received a 30 day notice to vacate the premises of my apartment. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to even look at a rental property, yet alone pay for one. There’s no such thing as affordable housing that’s decent and safe here.

Dontae

“I’m just trying to raise my son in a safe, happy, and healthy environment.”

I am a single mother with unjustified or pending issues with my credentials. My credit is beyond repair considering the time frame I’m needing to meet. I cannot afford rental rates at this time, but even if I could, my credit or my credentials inhibits me from every being given a second thought. I’m just trying to raise my son in a safe, happy, and healthy environment.

Mariah

“We have nowhere to go.”

We got little behind on rent, because they cut my fiancé’s unemployment out of the blue, which left us with zero income. He got a job about three weeks ago at the local jail, but they hold back a week, so he’s due to get his first paycheck this Friday. We had explained this to our landlord. She showed up the next day and proceeded to tell us it just wasn’t going to work out. Now, we have nowhere to go, not enough money for a deposit and first month’s rent, and rent is so high we can’t afford anything around us at the moment. I don’t know what to do.

Shelley

“I cannot risk my life.”

Due to my age and health history I’m extremely vulnerable and at risk for COVID. I made the tough decision to decline my teaching contract for next year as I cannot risk my life. Left without work I’m not in a position to pay my rent. I gave my landlord a 30 day notice and forfeiture of my deposit, at which time they said I would still be responsible for my entire lease until August. It’s beyond comprehension that I can give notice and avoid non-payment yet during this unprecedented time they show no sympathy for my position. Truly there should be some forgiveness as I feel I’m essentially a person with a disability at this time.

Joanne

“Trying to keep myself physically safe has cost me my freedom to move about in my own home.”

I informed my landlord that I had an underlying condition that makes me highly susceptible to severe complications from COVID 19 infection. Additionally, I informed my landlord that 2 of the 4 occupants of the house were continuing to have guests in the house after a state of emergency declaration was in place and after a stay-at-home advisory had been issued. I asked my landlord to require the other tenants to comply with public health guidance so that I could continue to safely use the common spaces of the house. My landlord refused to require the other tenants to stop having guests over or to take other protective measures to prevent transmission of COVID 19. I feel like trying to keep myself physically safe has cost me my freedom to move about in my own home and that it will eventually cost me my home altogether.

Virginia

“I’m just trying to keep myself and my daughter safe.”

My apartment manager is harassing me, trying to do everything she can to interrupt my isolation. She sent me a notice three weeks ago requiring that I move to a smaller unit during the middle of a pandemic. I was originally assigned my current unit as an accommodation. Yesterday, she sent pest control and a member of the apartment staff to my apartment and neither one of them was wearing PPE, so I didn’t let them in. Now she wants to come in and complete a unit inspection this week. I’m not going to let her in for the inspection because I’m not allowing anyone in my home while I’m isolating. This is a horrible way to treat a tenant with a disability. I’m just trying to keep myself and my daughter safe from this deadly disease.

Tonya

“He just told me to get out.”

I tried discussing payments with my landlord and he just told me to get out. Today, I came home with my 2 yr old daughter and our breaker was pulled out of the central unit, so we didn’t have AC. It’s cruel for him to put us through this because we are behind on rent, struggling to pay bills, and doing the best we can. I don’t know what to do.

John

“I have no rights and no one cares.”

My landlord had requested I move out by March 30. Due to the Covid 19 stay at home order in PA, and my son and I being very high risk due to asthma & chronic bronchitis, plus a suppressed immune system, I told him it was humanly impossible for us to move at that time. For the next several weeks I received constant harassing phone calls form the landlord. When Berks county was still in “red” I was forced to allow a showing, as he stated that real estate was “open”. Again, I received harassing voicemails that said that if I wasn’t moved out I had better prepare for showings because he was selling the house. Social distancing was never followed in showings or repairs of the house. I have no rights and no one cares.

Kim

“How is that even possible?”

My husband is home after 2 months in the hospital for COVID-19 and pneumonia. He spent 3 weeks on a ventilator. He just came home and is very weak. He lost 30 lbs and is using a walker. Our landlord denied our request for reasonable accommodation to stay in our unit and use the housing voucher we were granted. They expect us to move in 30 days. My husband cannot even walk. How is that even possible?

Lisa

“I was not allowed in.”

I was planning on moving out. The place I was supposed to go had a family member whose immune system was compromised, so I had to change my plans last minute when the stay at home order took place. The landlord of the room I was renting had a cough and I questioned his current health status. He said he was “not sick.” I immediately packed a bag and left to rent a motel room in fear of his possible infection with coronavirus, as his job includes dealing with the public. When I returned, he had broken my lock off of my room door and had already begun moving my personal belongings out of my room. I left again, after calling the police. That weekend I came to get some things, and he only allowed me to quickly grab a small laundry basket as he was coming toward me aggressively. The next day I returned with a male co-worker to load up my things and take them to storage. However, the screen door lock was changed and I was not allowed in. When I looked through the screen, all my belongings that were in the front room the day before were gone. I attempted contact with the landlord several times after this and no response.

Monica