Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My mom and I were up at some rental properties we own in her home town recently.  She had told me that the couple there had not been able to keep up with their rent for some time -- years -- but that they took good care of the place.  So we were going to stop in and see if there was any way we could help them navigate the state resources that are available to them to get more assistance.  They've been consistently paying $200-250 on a $350 a month 1-bedroom unit.

So we went in there, and they were a couple my age, maybe a little older.  There were teddy bears all over the place, on the coffee table, tacked to the wall.  "I love bears," she explained.  There were also some crystal bottles and other gewgaws.  On the wall were pictures of a bunch of kids and other relatives, maybe 20-25 of them.  I don't know which were kids, nephews, nieces, siblings, what have you. An extended family. She had recently had a 9-pound tumor removed and had diabetes, and had a huge bag of medications she needed to take. They were both as nice as they could be.

He was working as much as he could.  He had picked up 32 hours at WalMart, but, none too mysteriously, no more. They had been able to wrangle a whopping $14 in food stamps a month. In terms of private charities, there was an interchurch council of sorts from whom they had been able to get one month's utility bill picked up.

So that was pretty much it. You know the guy would work more if he could.  In fact, my mom's rental agent said her brother was a manager on the 3rd shift at WalMart and that she would talk to him about maybe getting this guy some more hours.

The state has pretty much washed its hands, the church in a not-too affluent town doesn't have the resources to supplement too much, so we just have to cut the people some slack on their rent because we can't throw them out in the street and, at the end of the day, they take good care of the apartment, so we'd be lucky to find a better tenant.

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