Tuesday, March 28, 2017
This man got evicted from my apartment building and they threw all his stuff on the sidewalk.
He lived here at least 15 years. Imagine paying rent that long and then he got sick and no longer could work. I don't know the ins and outs of why he didn't get disability. I just knew his first name.
They evicted him on Friday afternoon. During the weekend, I contacted this one man I know who knows every social agency in town and asked him if there was anyone who could come and rescue his stuff. I said, "Are there any agencies that will store his stuff for him before it is all lost?" He told me no.
The evicted man's entire apartment's contents ended up outside. It was raining Saturday and the first haul out got soaked. More was taken out on a drier Monday to be thrown away. I called one place and got an answering machine.He disappeared, and abandoned all his stuff even his bike which was shocking.
Because of my past and present poverty all this was very triggering for me.
We go outside, and they are literally using one of those small tractors to offload all his stuff into a giant dumpster that has been rented and set up. It is one of those ones you can't see into it is so tall. One neighbor says to me, "They have thrown away thousands of books, he had an entire wall of books in here.". I hate seeing books thrown away and I see some more boxes out. The building manager is standing there. People have started collecting his furniture, I ask "Can we take some books?" She says "Sure". I am polite and friendly but inside I am thinking, "Why wasn't there any mercy for this man?" Maybe her hands were tied, the apartment complex is corporate owned.
I worry about being a vulture, but they are already throwing everything away with the tractor into the dumpster to be hauled away. I figure it is too late and he has lost everything. The books are really good ones, intellectual ones with atlases, and on history and military history. I don't even want to think about what they have already thrown away.
We think my walker got stolen by one of the trash pickers, even right out of our car or my husband simple did not put it in the car even though I told him directly. I forgot to "check" and was tired. He is overwhelmed all the time. I was USING the walker while out there whatever sociopath stole my walker, had to know it was with me. I was in front of everyone. I was using it.
Of course I have weird thoughts, "Maybe it was wrong to grab the books and that's why you lost your walker" but my husband said, "Look they were throwing everything into the dumpster and hauling most of it away that day, you weren't doing anything wrong, it was already lost" We only took a small percentage of the books that were thrown away. My husband got some records. It was shocking to see them cleaning out usable and good stuff, furniture clothes, shelves, kitchen goods, and tossing it all in the trash. That one shocked me. The area was divided and the people there knew the walker was with me.
The poor man is homeless and has lost all his stuff. I feel dumb crying over a walker when I have ANOTHER ONE as a backup when this man lost everything but the whole situation triggered me. I said to my husband, "I didn't realize they just cleaned out your apartment and threw away everything even good stuff. He said, "Maybe you just didn't want to know."
I live in fear of homelessness too. We never have faced eviction and have paid rent on time for 20 years but there is always that fear inside. Disability at least is far more dependable then job income. Yes it is sad to write that, but it is true. In my case, would they throw out all my art work and medical equipment? He owned no car either to at least rescue the most important of his stuff. I remember asking "How come this man had no friends to help him out?" There are a lot of lonely people out there, my number of friends here are low and they would be too old or disabled to move tons of boxes. One friend of mine said, "Where was his family?" I pointed out I really have no family now and am not close enough to the cousins to be rescued by them. People end up without families all the time.
I think there are some major holes in our agencies. This is one. The fact that just getting evicted means you lose all your stuff is unforgiveable, but that is really how it works now. No money, no paid rent and you lose everything unless you got cash handy for a storage unit and the ability to move everything into it. That is harder for the old and those with health problems unable to move boxes and heavy items. One day this man may stop being homeless and some agency will have to provide new furniture and things for him unless he gets a job that can pay for those things. For very poor people replacing things is nearly impossible. It was sad to watch all this.