The Day My World Stopped Standing
April 6, 2020
After getting a taste of getting off the street in the summer of 2017, it was cut short because I violated the lease (office space can't be used as residential space), and food went missing from the fridge, which I was blamed for. I have always had concerns about the fact that there's more office space than there is residential space in NYC, and as a result, you have office space that's very cheap while having residential space that's VERY expensive. It's really unfair and has aggravated the city's sparse affordable housing market, which continues to shrink.
Upon being kicked out once again, I begin expanding my search for housing out of state. I reached out to landlords in Long Island, Poughkeepsie, Jersey City and ultimately New Haven, CT. I would set aside at least $1500 to ensure that I was able to afford the rent and security deposit most landlords ask for. It seems most landlords avoided those who were SSI dependent. In fact, the moment I brought it up, they always hung up. I have to start somewhere. I work hard. I'm not lazy. If I'm denied the opportunity to prove myself, then there's just no way to tell.
As I ran out of luck downstate and nearby, I started phoning in landlords north of Poughkeepsie. The first landlord I phoned in was [#a0h79l] of Troy, NY. I took Amtrak to ALB and then took the 22 and 85 to get to her house, which is up a steep hill, steeper than the one's I'm used to in Yonkers. I had cleaned up as best I could for the occasion, and provided her all the documentation she asked for. Even though I was willing to pay her a higher security deposit ($400 instead of $50), she turned me down via text shortly after the interview ended. I tried to seek clarification, but received no response.
"Perhaps it's for the best," I told myself. At least she's showing her bias up front. This way I don't wind up where I was three years back. I keep looking. I search on Trulia, Zillow (which owns Trulia), and Craigslist. I had become savvier at this point, and knew the signs to look out for when seeking housing (like avoiding brokers who charge a fee), given how many people get screwed over on a listing that doesn't exist. Brokers almost never liked accepting money orders, and that always made me suspicious of them.
One cold February afternoon, while searching on the computers at the Park Slope Library, I come across a listing in an upstate community that reminded me so much of Nodine Hill. I immediately gave the provided number a call (in the lobby of course). [#a8p78a] picks up the phone.
I reserved train tickets for SDY that same day. On March 27, 2018, I make my way to the nearest enclosed ATM machine, and give Chime a call.
I then withdraw $400 from the machine. Turns out, that was my limit. An elderly woman approaches the machine with her hand out, and I tell her off. She swears, but leaves the bank.
I head uphill, let him know about the limit, and he says it's OK. "I'll be sure to get the other half tomorrow." And I did. He seemed to appreciate the urgent payment, and gave me an important piece of furniture that my body forgot about - a bed. The first night I was able to lay prostrate in three years. It felt weird, and my body actually fought my will to lie down for about a week. I decided to go back to the city and grab a larger swath of my stuff. I gave [#a5p59r] a call to share the good news.
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