Marcy had good luck at first with rent assistance in San Antonio, but the longer it took to receive relief, the more her property’s manager escalated tactics to get her out of her home.
My name is Marcy and I am a disabled mom of 4 with an inoperable brain tumor. Right now, I live with my younger son, who is in 9th grade. When the pandemic hit, things went left for my family quickly. I normally receive disability income and work part time, but was cut from my job due to COVID-19. At first, we paid rent late as well as late fees, but things got harder as the pandemic dragged on. I don’t receive food stamps because I made too much money to qualify even though I was only bringing home about $1300/month. With bills and rent, there wasn’t much left for food. I had to make decisions: Do I feed my son or pay a bill? Do I pay all of my rent or not?
I applied to the City of San Antonio’s rent assistance program. At first, the property manager at my complex was helpful in regards to the program application and also about late rent. While I waited for assistance, I would go to food banks and help out neighbors who didn’t have access to a car. We would share and trade different food products from our haul, and I made friends this way. But the longer rent relief took, the meaner the property manager became.
We received our first eviction notice in October 2020. My case was dismissed because the plaintiff didn’t show up for the court date. In December, the city paid some of the rent for the first wave of assistance, but it didn’t cover everything, and the property manager filed a 2nd eviction notice in January. During my second eviction court appearance on June 7th, she testified, saying that she didn’t want the money owed, she just wanted the property back. The judge tried to work with her but she refused, so the judge ruled for the plaintiff. I appealed using Legal Aid’s help, which is time consuming and costly. I am still living at my apartment complex during the appeal process, but I don’t feel safe.
One day, while my case was still in appeals, I came home and my service dogs were acting anxious and scared, which is unusual for them. I realized that someone from the apartment complex had drilled a hole through my lock and went through my belongings. To know someone went through my things, my privacy felt so invaded. Since my court case is still in appeals, I have every right to be in this apartment. And if I’m being honest, things can be replaced. But to scare my dogs that much, it broke my heart.
I don’t have any family here who I can move in with. It’s currently just my son and I. It may come down to me living in my truck while my son stays with a friend, but I don’t want it to get to that. I’ve started looking for apartments, but maybe I’m too honest about our situation, and it doesn’t work out for us. The $50 application fees are adding up and we can’t keep paying them. There are not enough affordable housing options, and if you do find them, we have seen up to a 2 year waiting list. There needs to be more resources put into the community for everyday people than what we have, from affordable housing to more legal aid. Families are being broken apart because there isn’t enough to go around.