In Baltimore City in the first six months of 2013, there were 79,109 complaints in rent court for non-payment of rent. 3,376 of those resulted in evictions. Eviction is a traumatic ordeal for each and every one of those families and individuals who were forced to leave their homes, either to stay in shelters or with friends and family, or for the lucky ones, another apartment. Andrea Jones, a Right to Housing Alliance member since April of 2013 is among those evicted this year, and she tells her story here.
My name is Andrea Jones, I rented from Sage Management for three years. I work at Pimlico Racetrack and I was evicted on May 3rd 2013.
When I kept getting these court notices and evictions, I would always pay the amount to stop the eviction, assuming it was part of my rent. The last time they were going to do an eviction it was a rainy day, and they can’t do evictions when it’s raining. The same day, the manager came to the house and said “Oh you don’t have to move. We can talk about this.” Four days later on May 3rd when I came home from work I went to put the key in the door and the key didn’t work. Then I saw the padlock on the door. I called my son crying that I was locked out. That’s when the neighbor’s husband came out and said that they had padlocked both our doors. He said he didn’t know that they had padlocked his door until he had left the apartment and came back and saw them. I called my son and we saw that the window had been broken. We tried to get in but the windows were locked. I called and told Sage that I wanted to get my stuff.
It was just heartbreaking to come and find a padlock on the door like that, before I even got a date to talk to them about it. Then, they wanted me to to come up and talk to them after that. When I finally got in to see the apartment and get the rest of my stuff things had been thrown around, things were missing, stolen. They couldn’t even give me an explanation. It looked like someone had taken a tornado or something through there. We called the police but they didn’t take this matter serious at all. It made me feel like they were just believing the landlord. They didn’t want us to get in there because they knew what they did. I was okay because I had the support of the Right to Housing Alliance, but inside it was eating me up because I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I had to come and live with my daughter, Whereas it used to take fifteen minutes to get to work now it takes up to two hours to get to work. At nighttime I’m getting home sometimes at 1am or 2 because of the buses and I have to walk for a ways in the dark. I walk in the middle of the street because I don’t know if anyone’s lurking around there.
It’s stressful living with family, especially when you’re used to having your own. It can cause a strain on the relationship. Arguments. We’re both blunt persons. She’s me all the way and I’m her all the way. Both outspoken. And I’ll always have her back because she’s my child. But it’s hard.
Now I’m trying to find another place, but it’s kind of hard because if I go through a rental agency, because I have to put Sage down, and they’re not going to have anything positive to say. So I have to find a private landlord. That’s the only way I see me getting an apartment or house. I’ve been staying with my daughter until I can find something according to my income. There’s a house next door to her but it’s too much money. It’s hard if you’re trying to do it by yourself. I don’t work a lot of hours. When extra hours come you gotta jump on it. They cut peoples’ days. It’s chaos up there.
With the support of Right to Housing Alliance and myself hopefully I can find something before the year’s up. And hopefully we can make sure this doesn’t happen to other people.