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Help us make this house a home

$18,014 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 421 people in 7 months
Created June 8, 2018
In 2011, I helped my mother purchase a house across the street from mine in New Orleans. I didn't realize at the time that my mom was beginning to develop Alzheimer's disease and would be unable to pay me back a lump sum due to mismanaging her own savings. I've spent the ensuing years scrambling to make a living at various freelance pursuits while caring for her, and even with my partner Grey's help, it has been precarious.

We finally got my mom into a good nursing home last fall, but she hadn't taken care of the house or allowed me to do so, and it is now unlivable. In addition, the nursing home is now taking her entire Social Security and retirement income, so she is now unable to repay me anything. Our rent is $1100 per month, which is a good price for New Orleans, but we still live in constant fear of being priced out of the city.

Grey and I are hoping to restore the house and move in. It's big enough for both of us to live and work there, and it's paid for free and clear. With the huge expense of rent gone, we could save a lot of money. Unfortunately, we have no hope of coming up with the front expenses:

- Hazmat-level cleaning. There is dog waste and human waste in the house as well as loads of other accumulated junk and filth. Grey has a compromised immune system due to HIV, so we really need an extreme cleaning. The best estimate I've gotten for this is $5000.

- Property taxes. She owes $900, which is well overdue.

- A minimum of electrical and plumbing work. We don't need it to be perfect, but right now there's no hot water and only about half the wiring works.

- A stove. There wasn't one when my mom moved in, and we never installed one because I was doing all her cooking.

- Back bills. We are currently two months behind on our rent, and our landlord has been so patient that I'm not willing to leave him in the lurch. We also need to catch up on the house utilities before they get cut off.

- Moving expenses. We can do some of it ourselves, but with neither of us being in great health, we'll need to hire movers for our large/heavy items.

We have stayed afloat through years of poverty, but I'm tired and really starting to have trouble treading water. I'm also just beginning to write again after nearly a decade of involuntary silence, and I'd love to have the breathing room to do more of it. This house would allow me that room. 

Thanks so much for reading.

Love,

Poppy Z. Brite / Billy Martin
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Update 8
Posted by Billy Martin
5 months ago
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Finally had the time and energy to post a few photos from the new house! More to come.

https://www.facebook.com/billy.martin.127648/media_set?set=a.1484841291617199.1073741875.100002740277402&type=3&uploaded=8
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Update 7
Posted by Billy Martin
5 months ago
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Though I feel guilty about it since people have already been breathtakingly generous, we have updated our goal to $20,000. This will cover the electric work we need done in order to have hot water and a working stove. We were frugal with the original money, but as ever (especially with an old house), there were unexpected expenses. Today, at last, we have all our furniture and books and cats in the house and will be spending our first night here. It already feels more like a home than the apartment ever did.
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Update 6
Posted by Billy Martin
6 months ago
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The house is slowly but steadily coming along. I'm posting this from my new studio -- wanted to include photos, but my computer doesn't feel like reading my camera disk at the moment. I think we did a good job making the GoFundMe money stretch as far as possible, but we're about at the end of it and will be moving in without hot water or a stove. The estimate for the electrical work we need done is $1800, which I think we can save before the weather starts getting cold, now that we don't have to pay rent.

Moving has taxed our bodies to the limit and turned up all sorts of interesting things we'd forgotten about, such as the manuscript of an unpublished article on the links between Catholicism, Voodoo, and Spiritual churches I wrote in 2006. I'll make it available on Patreon when I have a moment.

Thanks so much for helping make all this possible.
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Update 5
Posted by Billy Martin
6 months ago
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Well, we reached our goal and then some! All the major expenses are now behind us: the cleaning is done, the property taxes and back rent/utilities are paid, and we just came home from Lowe's with new vinyl flooring for the kitchen. We've also had another incredibly lucky break: our neighbor Tony is a retired contractor, his son is an electrician, and they are doing almost all the wiring and plumbing work for free. Must think of something nice to do for them. The only other big things we need are a stove and (maybe) a washer and dryer. The generosity of people continues to overwhelm us. XXX
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$18,014 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 421 people in 7 months
Created June 8, 2018
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