Jonah is 10 years old and we’ve been living in a four-unit house on a residential street for almost four years. It’s quiet and many of the houses nearby look like ours. I was a teacher for 13 years before falling and breaking my spine in 2019, leaving me with sagging and chronic pain. The school district let me go because it could not meet my disability needs. Now I am receiving monthly payments for my disability. But I want to start teaching again. Children bring me so much joy.
Reliving these happy memories was a much-needed crutch for me because the coronavirus is devastating me. I feel incredibly sick. I’ve had blinding migraines and it’s hard to get out of bed. My doctor gave me a heavy dose of the steroid prednisone and cough medicine, and I started using an inhaler. But my body hurts. I coughed up blood. Even though I have Medicaid, I avoided going to the emergency room because my son would be alone. My ex-husband lives across town and works as a driver and at the ABF Freight dock. My beloved mother died three years ago, and although I am close to my stepfather, he lives in Arkansas. My son is doing a virtual school but he sometimes has to stop and take a nap and then catch up on what he missed when he woke up. Our goal is to get through every hour without it collapsing.
It was very difficult to get through this pandemic with just disability payments and child support from my ex-husband. Things got even more difficult in July when the company that issued my disability checks misplaced my records and stopped sending me money. This resulted in me falling behind on my $ 775 monthly rent. I even connected my property manager to my handicap worker who verified all of this. My property manager said he would work with me to find a solution. I felt tremendously relieved.
But in mid-November, a few days after we talked, I opened my door and found an eviction notice that told me to move out within 10 days. I was shocked. It was said that I had violated my rental agreement by leaving trash on the back deck, leaving devices in the common area, not cleaning up after my dog and refusing to communicate. Neither of these reasons is a reason to make my family homeless during a pandemic, especially if the property manager said he would work with me.
A month later, I had to take my case to court. The judges in Jackson County, Mo., where I live, are so determined to hear evictions and bow to landlords’ demands that they conduct online and conference call hearings. During my hearing, my property manager called me an “excellent” tenant. Why are the owners trying to make us homeless? I think they just want to get their money faster.