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Starting over is hard

Posted: March 5, 2012 - 1:04am

Almost three years ago I lost my job and my home.

I have had two surgeries and am going to have one more. Since that time I have gone from hotel to hotel. I was on a waiting list for subsidized housing but got taken off the list due to an unpaid housing bill that I was working on paying off. For the first time in over 20 years I have been unable to work for the last year.

Being on the other side of the table has been rough. I’m not a person who stands in judgement of other people’s lives but it has been rough in the last year. People treat you differently when they know you are receiving public assistance. It doesn’ t matter to them what your situation is, they only see what they want. Through it all, I have tried to stay positive for my children’s sake. I have applied to many places, when they see that I am unemployed and a red flag goes up — then I see the look on their faces, “oh, another welfare mom who can’t take care of her children, she’ll ruin my place, her rent won’t be paid,” and the list goes on and on.

I have always worked, and have taken great care of my children and my home. I take the time to be honest with these property owners, fill out the applications, meet with them, dress appropriately — after all, we live in town with people who judge on appearance and not character.

Compassion? None. What do I long for? I understand that they need to protect their property and sometimes judgement is called for, but when judgement is based on nothing more than ignorance then that’s when I get offended.

I ask for the respect that I give; I am just a person trying to start over. Things happen in life, but I choose to keep going and ask god every day for the patience and strength to keep moving forward.

To all you landlords who have turned someone like me away, think about it: What if you lost everything? Who would give you a chance? It is very depressing when a property owner doesn’t even have the decency to call you back and tell you that they have decided to not rent to you. Kind of like telling me and my boys we’re not worth a response.

I have always taught my children to be respectful. We don’t know what tomorrow brings; one day we can have it all and the next it can be gone. Tomorrow I have 24 hours to find another hotel, and then 30 days to find a place. There are many good people out there who just need a chance. I am not alone. I pray for the ones who sleep in their cars, because tonight we have a place to sleep.

Mary Nelson

Juneau

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