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Living In a Tent is Touch and Go

by Touchy Subject, 5 months ago

I want to start out by saying we call this place "Pleasantville." It is gorgeous, quiet, and clean, and we would love to have our daughter (who is now four) start school here.

Unfortunately, this area is not very supportive of the blue-collar working class. My husband was an 18-wheeler driver, and we were relocated here in December of 2016. At the time, I had found an apartment that was only $40 per month more than our apartment in Texas. We would be losing more than 200 square feet, our second bathroom, and two walk-in closets, but we figured we would eventually be able to purchase a home here, so we thought we would just "rough it" for awhile in the tiny apartment until we found a home to buy.

Boy, were we wrong about how much it really costs to live here. We have now found that even renting here is something we are no longer able to afford.

We've had several months (including this one) where our out-of-state relatives are sending us money to help just cover our bills so that we don't lose electricity or get evicted.

And it's not for lack of trying: I've looked into housing assistance, SNAP/WIC, "affordable housing", energy bill assistance, et cetera, only to be told that we just make a few hundred dollars too much per month to qualify.

I ask them the same thing every time we get told "no": so are we not supposed to work as much to try to get ourselves out of this situation? I understand there are many worse off than us, but when you're being told "no" by everybody, it is incredibly frustrating. We feel pretty invisible.

My husband works full-time, and as much overtime as he can. We cannot afford to send our daughter to daycare so that I can have a full-time job, so I work at a retail job one day a week on my husband's day off, and do freelance work from home to even afford to live paycheck to paycheck.

The only help we have ever received is from St. Vincent De Paul - twice. We can't afford a deposit on a new apartment that doesn't charge a $150 late fee if you get paid one day past their grace period, and our rent is about to be raised more than $100 per month. The only decent apartments around here seem to be in cahoots to make sure nobody pays less than $1,500 a month to live around here.

We can't afford a moving truck back home, so our choice is either to continue to live in constant fear of not being able to make it, or put all of our stuff in storage and live in a combination of a tent/our vehicle (that is, if it doesn't get repossessed first).

Oh yeah, and that is while we watch "For Sale" signs go "Pending" within days all over the place around here. It is unfathomable to us how anyone could possibly afford to buy a house here, or even rent for more than a few years without making six figures a year, or receiving some form of assistance.

It may be too late for us, but I'm hoping you can construct some form of plan for the future that will eliminate families like ours being forced out just for not having two high-paying full-time incomes come in each month.

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Admin Commented Team member commented Kim Rybold
Senior Planner
5 months ago