This week I saw something I hadn’t seen in a while: household furnishings and belongings piled on a sidewalk. At first I didn’t know what it was. Then it dawned on me – this is an eviction. Somebody couldn’t pay rent and now a family is on the street. A car stopped and a woman stepped out to pick over the remains, like a carrion bird.
I witnessed my first eviction as a kid living in New York’s El Barrio – sofa, lamps, mattresses, and more thrown by the curb. It began to rain, ruining the family’s possessions. I’ve never forgotten that sad sight.
The National MultiFamily Housing Council states that 93 percent of apartment dwellers are making full or partial rent payments. “Americans are prioritizing rent,” said the NMHC, which is pushing for federal rental assistance.
Frankly, I would pay my rent first, too. Nothing gives me the shakes and shivers more than the thought of losing the roof over my head. An NPR story reported that an unemployed mother, in a pre-emptive move, began placing her things in storage, fearful that her landlord would evict her after 12 years or renting. Twelve years!
States such as Florida have extended moratoriums on rent and mortgage payments until the end of June, and justifiably so. Unemployment is sky high, and the pandemic is still with us, perhaps even revving up for a second wave.
This landlord made a crude, bad move because people are hurting and have to be down in the depths to not pay rent. In today’s dismal economy I’m not sure where the landlord thinks his next paying tenant is coming from.
Evictions are coming. Add this to the number of serious grievances of poor and working-class Americans.
˜˜María T. Padilla, Editor
Originally published on Facebook June 6.