Hearts of Ice
As I watched the littlest one play with Nessie and the other girls in the church gym, I was struck by only one thought: what kind of person would allow such a precious child to be turned out in the street like that? Granted, we haven’t asked her mom what brought her to these circumstances (it’s none of our business). It could be that their home suffered some calamity, or was locked up due to some sort of environmental concern. I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet the farm that their being here was actually just the result of somebody flexing their financial muscle at someone of lesser means.
I guess I’d make a lousy landlord. I care too much. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing some action I took meant that a little child barely out of her infancy would be spending her nights God knows where. Maybe the job description for a landlord requires having a chunk of ice the size of the Titanic’s iceberg lodged firmly in your chest.
I often wonder why landlords, who could do more than anyone else to make a dent in the area’s homelessness, decide the welfare of their banker is greater than the welfare of the children whose families rent from them. Yes, landlords are as entitled to make money as anyone else, but why can’t a modicum of social conscience be applied to families who want to rent? Why can’t landlords look past a bad credit rating to see a father working hard to provide for his brood, or a single mother trying to put her life back together after a divorce, or children who need educational stability? Why not look past a balance sheet to see a family struggling to stay afloat, or a man trying to stay one step ahead of an addiction, or a woman trying to make sure her daughter doesn’t make the mistakes she made? Why not have a heart, instead of a cold ledger sheet where a heart should be?
America is a brutally capitalist country, and maybe I’m wishing too much. Maybe some would call what I’m advocating socialism. That’s their lookout. All I’m saying is that landlords could – could – look past their pockets just for a moment at that family across the desk and consider for a moment that he is may well be the only thing standing between them and a life on the brutal streets. He may be all that stands between them and a life continued in the grip of poverty, miseducation and addiction. He may be the one thing that helps keep this family together. He may be just who they need to keep from contributing to a growing problem.
He may be able to help.
And there’s not a bank account in the universe big enough that can match the feeling you get from helping someone in need.
"In the dark it just you and I" Nina Simone
By the time it gets to eviction, the property owner already hasn't been paid for 2,3 sometimes more months. 3 months without any income on property that often still has a monthly mortgage. That still has to be paid. Some landlords even use rental income to pay for both the mortgage there and on the property they themselves live in. So when folks can't pay their rent, they are often putting the landlord in a financial bind.
I do wish you and your family the best of luck. I had a brief bout of homelessness in '95. I had to send my kids to my folks for the summer while I worked 12 hour shifts every single day to get the money together for an apartment. It took me over 2 months. It was rough, I know how you feel. I hope you all get a place soon.