UPDATE Wednesday August 18th, 2015: I got the call today, just like the housing assistant had said. The supervisor I spoke with yesterday had no idea what she was talking about. She made me worry for no reason. I have my keys and move in date.
My daughter and I have been living in homeless shelters for close to five years. On Monday, July 17, 2015 I found an apartment in a low-income housing project run by NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority). I was told I needed to come up with 601 dollars by Friday, July 24, 2015 or I’d lose the apartment. I had no idea how I would come up with that much money in a week. My friends suggested I start a GoFundMe campaign. Thanks to the generosity of my friends and of complete strangers, I was able to raise the funds in less than a day.
On Thursday July 23, 2015 I bought a money order and took it to the housing management office. The housing assistant told me the apartment should be ready within 15 days. I saw the apartment and it was in need of a few repairs but nothing I deemed too worrisome. Since then I’ve been calling and emailing the housing assistant every day to find out the progress of the apartment.
On Friday, August 14, 2015 I received an email from the housing assistant saying the apartment should be ready by Wednesday, August 19, 2015. I called him on Monday the 17th, and he said the apartment may be ready by Tuesday the 18th but “not to hold (him) to that”. We had agreed I would call him that Tuesday morning; today. One of the shelter case managers has been in contact with the housing assistant as well, and the case manager was told the same thing.
I did call and was told he wasn’t in today. I asked to speak to the supervisor. She told me and I quote, “We have no idea when the apartment will be ready. The housing assistant should have never told you it would be ready by Wednesday.” When I reminded her that it had been close to a month since I gave them the money she simply replied with, “Yup. Sometimes it takes more than a month. When the apartment is ready you will get a call to pick up the keys.”
It’s simply unacceptable that I as a homeless single mom, came up with that much money in such a short amount of time lest I lose the apartment and now I have to wait. My daughter goes back to school in less than a month. I wanted to transfer her to the school near the apartment. I don’t know if I should leave her in the school she’s currently enrolled in. If I register her in the new school and I’m still living in the shelter, she’ll have to be bussed. She was bussed last school year. She was a victim of bullies. I do not want to put her on the bus again. But I will be forced to if I’m not moved in before school starts. The bus and train fare in NYC is $2.75 for a one-way trip. I cannot afford 55 dollars a week to take her to school, but she has to attend because otherwise I run the risk of having CPS called on me for educational neglect.
All I want is to move. On August 24, 2015 it would have been a month since I gave them the 601 dollars. They have been telling me “soon, soon” and now this. I feel like the apartment is being held in front of me like a carrot. We’ve been homeless for so long. I have so many plans but I cannot move forward with any of them until I move. My daughter wants to move. She’s so excited about finally having her own room. Her birthday is coming up and this is will the first in our own apartment. Hopefully she can have her Sailor Moon-themed birthday party. This Christmas would be the first time she’ll have a tree. These are simple things but to us they mean so much. My five-year-old suggested we sneak into the apartment and just start living there and if anyone walks in we should freeze like statues.
If I haven’t heard anything about the apartment by September 1st, 2015 I’m going to reveal the name of the housing project, office telephone number and names of the people I’ve been speaking with. I’m tired of waiting and I have to do something for them to take me seriously. NYCHA cannot jerk me or others around and think they can get away with it.