The story that follows is also available at Rochester Unemployment Examiner.
One 99er loses a battle to foreclosure and falls through the cracks
Why is it so important that Congress put away its sabers and deal with the mounting damage caused by long-term unemployment and the ending of unemployment benefits for millions? It’s because so many people are falling through the cracks and losing everything. One such person is 99er J.A. (Jen) Emery, who I’ve had contact with for the past couple months. Jen has been a frequent commenter on this site and she kindly offered her story to readers back in August. Below is some of her letter:
I was forced to move into a 30 year old single wide trailer, for which I am now unpaid for the space for June, July, and August. In a few weeks, I will be behind on the 350$ payment to own the trailer, and they won’t wait longer then a week or two when I am late to kick me out. The landlord, too, can’t wait much longer. I haven’t packed, because I have nothing, and no one to turn to. My community laughs when I call for help, as they have long become impossibly overburdened as well as losing massive funding right at the time thousands more needed them.
I have cancer, basal cell carcinoma, beside my lip, and have had for coming on two years. It is not yet life threatening, just disfiguring, so I don’t qualify for assistance. The pain shoots like electricity along my cheek, intermittently, and its the most shocking, painful thing you could EVER imagine. Even the slightest wind triggers it, sometimes. It just started doing this about 2 weeks ago, and of course, I can’t
afford to see my doctor.
My 80 year old Mom had lived with me for the last almost 6 years, and now, she has gone to seek public housing in Montana, where her sister lives, as the stress of my near-suicidal depression for the last year
has been too difficult for her, and public housing has become a better alternative, which speaks to how horrifying this situation is. I have gained 80lbs, and I do not leave my room, much, except to take
care of my dog and two cats. I can’t afford to see my doctor, who I trust, for help. I am taking some
anti-depressants he prescribed me, but when those run out, I won’t have the money to go again.
I am a Network Ops Tech, and my last job paid $25 per hour. I have worked whenever I wanted to since I was 18. No retro-active means even if something passes today, I won’t be able to catch up, and I long ago drained every resource, and have borrowed from friends and family, with shame and sorrow, as they, too, include 99ers. I could not even keep up my life insurance payment, which is the only reason I stayed alive, because I could not leave my Mother without leaving her enough money to make her life as it should be after her long and contributing life.
I am due to pay a $5,000 balloon payment in November to finish paying off the trailer, as when I agreed to that, I was certain to be back to work, quickly, right. I’d never been out of work longer than a few weeks before. I don’t have the house anymore, like the two pictured in the story.
What am I going to do? How am I to survive? Why am I to survive? I’m 43, and my new start after leaving a horrible relationship has turned into hell on earth. I’m smart, and I had a lot more to give the world. I hate the Republicans, passionately. I am ashamed to be an American. My fellow citizens hurl derision and accusations at us, as if when we are used to living decently, and safely, we are oh-so excited to be thrust into eviction, and poverty. In Washington State, my unemployment puts me FAR below the poverty line, with almost 75% of the money going towards the trailer and space. It is the lowest I could possibly live here. Housing here has waiting lists YEARS long.
Now that my Mom’s gone, I can say that I will NOT live on the streets. Death may not be proud, but it would/will be better then what I go through now. The dream is dead, and my country, if it remembers me, calls me lazy and worthless.
I put Jen in contact with her congressional representative, Rick Larsen (D-WA), to see if they could help her in some way. Unfortunately, through miscommunications, privacy concerns and Jen’s difficult situation, Rep. Larsen’s office was unable to offer help. They did offer Jen a local phone number to call for help, which Jen had done previously and which offered no help. Larsen’s office stated in part, “As you know, Congressional offices do not have the resources to provide rental or housing assistance to individuals.”
While municipal offices are better designed to help their community, I find it troubling that powerful representatives aren’t able to help constituents. If this situation was a banker asking for tax considerations, there would likely be introductions, meetings, and ideas that would take days to accomplish, but when it comes to someone needing help with a mortgage payment, it’s not an available resource.
I don’t place complete blame on Rep. Larsen’s office for their inability to help, but there appears to be a troubling disconnect between the people and their elected representatives. How can banksters demand $700 billion in bailouts and get a check for that amount in two weeks, but when struggling homeowners need a couple hundred dollars to keep the foreclosure villains at bay, there’s nothing they can do to help? How can Republicans demand $700 billion in tax breaks for the wealthiest and do absolutely nothing to help the unemployed?
I stayed in contact with Jen in hopes that her situation was improving and if she found any assistance, but unfortunately Jen’s story did not end on a happy note as her emotional letter below indicates:
No, everything is about to be gone. I cannot come up with $325 plus late fee for October trailer payment, so the owner filed a 3 day pay or vacate..
I need $545 in the next 12 hours. Good deal, huh? After I was late $325, they filed a 3 day pay or vacate. Today is the last day. I’m minutes from losing it all, again. I have paid them $17,000 towards the purchase. I owe $325 and then the last balloon payment of $5,000. GREAT time to get me out, take the mobile home back, profit all that I have paid $17,000.
It’s all over for me. all over. I’ve lost the internet and phone and in a little while, everything else.
If you know anybody that would like to pay the $5000, plus the space rent, I’ll give them the mobile home to sell for a quick $5000 profit.
Should pigs fly. My best friend is E W. Her number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Her email is ew-oooo.com.
(Larsen’s office) never answered, but was so kind to remind me of the 211 service which told me several months ago there is NO DAMN HELP/USELESS AND CLUELESS, Mike.
Thanks for being there as long as you were.
I’ll miss reading your posts. I’ll miss everything, if I’m honest.
I have tried to contact Jen, but have not yet heard back from her.
As 99ers such as Jen suffer the pains of joblessness, foreclosure, bankruptcy, lack of healthcare, and abandonment by elected representatives, it’s important that Congress start doing the work of the people. Will that happen? We can only hope, but if the words of Republican Senator Mike Pence are any indication, it will not come easy:
Pence said his party wouldn’t compromise on issues like spending or healthcare reform, two of the weightiest items on Congress’s agenda next year, when the Republicans could control one or both chambers.
“Look, there will be no compromise on stopping runaway spending, deficits and debt. There will be no compromise on repealing Obamacare. There will be no compromise on stopping Democrats from growing government and raising taxes,” Pence told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday evening. “And if I haven’t been clear enough yet, let me say again: No compromise.”
That’s the problem, Senator, “no compromise” and people are paying a dear price for that blockheaded, gung-ho behavior – people like Jen Emery.
The Daily List
Rochester Unemployment Examiner offers the latest information on unemployment issues.
I’m looking for stories from people who have been rejected during the hiring process for being unemployed. Have you been the victim of a temp agency that won’t give you an interview because you are unemployed? Have you seen jobs ads for “employed only” or “unemployed need not apply”? Send your job rejection experiences to email@example.com.
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Last week Huffington Post was kind enough to give me a chance to post my work at their site. I hope to be able to spread the 99er word using their large audience. You can see my latest effort at: The Real Unemployment Rate Is High… and Rising