Editor's note: This story by an MEAction Colorado member, Rachel K., was written in August, some updates after the story are included below.
I am a nurse (I also happen to have a background as a professional writer), who for no reason given, is being forced out of my apartment via a non-renewal of a month-to-month lease. While this may sound hard to believe, it's unfortunately true. If there was anyone wishing it were not true, that person would definitely be me. My circumstances are complicated by my having myalgic encephelomyelitis and other complicating conditions. It is much more than a simple non-renewal of the lease. I have always paid my rent for the past six years at this place and have done nothing to precipitate this action. If I am not out of the apartment by the end of August, I will be evicted. I have a chronic illness that keeps me from being able to earn regular income, and I'm in the middle of filing for disability benefits; consequently, my finances are dismal. These apartment managers are well aware of this.
I have only asked for one more month in the apartment so I can find a place to live, move my stuff and complete the hundreds of additional things involved in moving.
About 30-40% of the time, my ME forces me to be in bed. The rest of the time, I experience mostly physical limitations in terms of my ability to complete every day tasks, let alone the physical and emotional wherewithal to tackle a move.
To complicate things even further, my apartment is filled with stuff because when I'm able, I sell items on eBay. Plus, I'm having an incredibly difficult time finding enough people to help me move because of the pandemic. They are simply afraid to lend a hand in this difficult environment.
Due to unexpectedly being forced to move so quickly, there is no way I am able to get out of this place in 11 days; therefore, I am facing the frightening reality of having to find a short term transitional housing situation and leave much of my stuff behind. Because my illness causes me to be immuno-compromised it would be difficult to survive such an event. This is certainly no exaggeration.
I still can't believe I'm in this predicament! It feels like I'm living in some sort of surreal nightmare. A couple of years ago, I never would've thought something like this could happen to me.
My healthcare providers, social worker, as well as my disability attorney, friends and others, will advocate for me regarding the aforementioned. In fact, they're in the process of writing a letter on my behalf to the property managers explaining my illness, precarious financial situation and requesting I be given one more month in this apartment.
I have a written letter from my healthcare provider stating the seriousness of my illness. I provided this letter to these property managers, explaining in detail my situation, but they still refused to simply give me one more month so I can find a place to live and not wind up living somewhere far from ideal.
How ironic it is: a nurse being kicked out of her apartment and having no place to go during a pandemic! My provider has told me that due to my illness, if I am infected with COVID-19, I will likely wind up extremely ill, possibly even a ventilated patient in the ICU.
Editor's note: The pressure on housing management worked as the lease was renewed for one more month. The person has a safe if not ideal place to go at the end of the month and will have the time to move all her items and work for a smoother transition without pushing herself and crashing so much. The recent moratorium on evictions may be of help in case something comes up at the last minute or if Rachel is too sick to move at that time. The rent would be due at the end of the moratorium. Rachel put forth an extreme amount of energy preparing in August while fighting her case for an extra month. While she won the extra month, it came at a cost of several ME crashes and was so unnecessary if the management had been more thoughtful and supportive of people with severe chronic conditions like ME. If you find yourself in a similar situation, Rachel would like to help by writing letters asking their providers to advocate for them. You can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org
) to be put in touch with her.