Can you imagine laying down on a quilt on the floor at 11:30 p.m. only to awaken at 4 a.m. with your pillow soaked with tears? The small glimmer of hope and determination you have managed to brace yourself with to make it through each day has vanished with sleep, defenses are gone, and the reality takes over in your dreams. You awaken confused, fearful and hopeless. Go into the bathroom and quietly cry it out, then lift your chin and vow that today will be the day when something changes, when you or someone you know will finally come up with some way to fix this depressing situation. Lord, please.
Can you imagine after months and months of phone calls, payments, paperwork, hunting for forms and statements in the camper and storage unit, trip after trip to banks – FINALLY, you are actually approved for a small mortgage loan. It’s okay, there are houses a few hours away that are within your limits. Only to find out in the ensuing months that it was all another dream. Banks now require homes to be “perfect”, and all you can afford is a fixer-upper.
Then you find one. No repairs needed. It is listed at $31,000. You can only bid $29,000 as that is the highest amount the bank will lend you. So you bid, someone else bids $32,000. Then you find another one. It is listed at $28,000, with an escrow for repairs of only $800. You can do this! But the bank tells you it is a double-wide and FHA will not allow ANY repairs on a double-wide. On and on, over and over, you watch the homes go to someone else, or go for $19,000 to an investor as he has cash. Ten months later, I am no closer to finding a home.
Or finding one for $15,000 with 8 acres of land, needs a lot of work, but you look at the photos and feel your fingers itching to repair those dilapidated outbuildings and paint those walls. Cash only. You have $5,000 saved for closing costs and earnest money. $15,000 might as well be a million. I know of no one who can lend me 15 or 20k over 15 years to get a fixer-upper with cash.
Can you imagine your youngest child staying in someone’s basement at a place she can have her horse. She also has our dog and one of our cats. She has nowhere else to go and cannot afford to rent elsewhere in this area as rents are very high. We thought to rent together until I can find us a home, but there is nowhere to rent where we can take our animals. They are our family. We cannot abandon them.
Can you imagine calling your dear friend sometimes two or three times a day as the panic and hopelessness once again get a firm grip, the tears begin to leak unbidden, fear wells up threatening to choke you. A little conversation, laughter, and once again you can make it through the next hours.
Dear friends are trying so desperately to help, it hurts my heart that all their efforts have so far been for nought. A fundraiser, sending money to buy lottery tickets, writing to tv shows to try to find help for me to get a home; when I feel like giving up they are my cheerleaders. I spend a week day and night on chip flavors, desperate to come up with one that will be one of the four finalists, with $50,000 (even minus taxes) I can get a home. Entering the DIY win a home contest, once a day on both sites, maybe my name will be picked. Dreams, all of it silly dreams, but what else is there?
Homeless on the street or in parking lots, holding signs, saying they are hungry, or trying to get to the next state. My heart breaks. A dollar or two, five if I have it. Bottles of water that are always in my car. Buying a little bag of dog food in the dollar store for their dog, lunch for others. I am homeless, yet there are others worse off than I am. I cannot drive by or just walk past these people who need help, these brothers and sisters, children, of my heart. We are all in this together and I must do what little I can. The pain and fear is mine, mirrored in the eyes of these others who have lost and are searching for a way to survive.
Can you imagine going to a gathering; when it is late and everyone leaves to go home, you drive back to your daughter’s home, get your blankets from your car and slip in quietly to lie down on the floor? For you have no home to go back to, five years of no place of your own, no bedroom, no private space at all. But are grateful for the floor, for it is more than some have.
Trying to give my daughter’s family some time of their own in their home, I go to sit on a lawn chair with a book and bottle of water down at the barn. After an hour or two, I try to think of somewhere I can go, but being ten miles from the nearest town I cannot waste the gas. Think of taking a walk, but my mishapened, badly bunioned feet will only go so far. So I sweep and rearrange things in the barn.
Can you imagine being 64, applying for jobs online and in 4 years the only positions that even replied were to sell vacuums door to door and a 3 week part time job for Xmas ? That you get less than $800 a month on social security, that is all you have to work with, and after helping with electric and food where you are staying, paying your few bills, you can manage to save 100 to 150 a month toward a home, barring an unexpected vet or car repair bill?