Housing Emergency - Cancer pt & wife

My husband and I have to leave our current apartment by July 1st or we will be evicted (which can happen in as little as 2 weeks here in PA - they are NOT tenant-friendly in the housing courts). Eph (my hubby) is suffering the effects of stomach cancer (adenocarcinoma). He had his entire stomach removed in Jan. 2011, then underwent 6 months of grueling chemo that left him so sick and weak he had to go into a nursing home for 9 months to recover. He got out last June, only to find out a day later that the cancer had returned, this time in 3 lymph nodes.

He has been undergoing chemo again (not quite as debilitating this time, but still difficult to handle) up until last month. Now, we just found out that while the 3 lymph nodes are no longer showing any signs of cancer present, there's a new spot that developed on his spine, and because of it's location, he will have to have radiation treatments this time. The schedule for that will be daily treatments, 5 days/wk, for 2 or 3 weeks. This means we will be traveling 56 miles, round trip, to the hospital every weekday for the duration - a total of 280 miles per week, which is a lot of money for gas.

On top of this, I have my own set of medical problems, and while I have been trying to find permanent, full-time employment, my luck in that area has been poor. Technically, I have a job right now, doing data entry for a small company in the area. It only pays $8/hr, but it involved working from home, in the evenings, so it left me free to get Eph to and from his treatments, which was necessary because there are no other transportation services available for him right now.

Unfortunately, the volume of work at the data entry company has been so low that they haven't been able to give me any hours since the beginning of May. I've been actively looking for additional work, but have not had any offers at this point, and between the move and Eph's radiation schedule, I may not even be able to keep looking for the next 3-4 weeks.

Background: Our current landlord has decided to raise the rent on our apartment by $105/month, which is way more than we can afford. Since our lease is expiring, he will not let us renew unless we agree to the rent increase. If we do not leave voluntarily by July 1st, he will evict us - and the laws in PA do not favor tenants, so even though we are both disabled and Eph is battling cancer, the odds are not good that the judge would give us more than 2 weeks to get out.

We have secured a new apartment, in Nanticoke, PA. It's clean, accessible for both of us, and affordable ($170/mo less than we pay now, without the increase). The problem is, we have no money left for moving, for deposits on the utilities, and also for the huge gas expense necessary to get Eph to his daily radiation treatments.

We have applied for help from the local social service agencies that normally would provide assistance in these situations. Usually they will pay the first month's rent and the security deposit, which then frees up that money from your personal budget to cover moving expenses. Unfortunately, I was just informed that while we DO qualify for that help, the budget cuts forced by sequestration have left the agency without enough funds to actually give us that help. They don't expect to have more funds until mid-July, and there is already a waiting list for those funds as well, which is full of other families in similar crises, so even Eph's obvious medical necessity would not move us up far enough on that list to guarantee we would get the funds in July.

Because of this, what income we do have, from Eph's SSD, is going to have to go for rent, and will not be available for us to use for moving expenses. Therefore, in order to avoid losing the apartment and becoming homeless by the middle of July, the only option we have is to make this appeal for help. Below is a breakdown of what the amount I am hoping to raise will cover:

1) Moving expenses: I have obtained several quotes from local movers - mostly a guy with a truck and a helper, as we couldn't afford professional movers even if we were able to get help from the state or charity groups. The cheapest rate we've been quoted so far is $750, due to the stairs at both locations, the distance between them (an hour of labor is spent just driving), and that he says he needs 3 guys (driver & 2 helpers). Other small contractors have listed similar requirements, but higher rates. All say the quote is subject to actual conditions the day of the move, and could go higher if it takes longer than approximately 5 hours (2 for packing the truck, one for getting to the new place, and 2 for unloading the truck). So I'm figuring up to $1000 just for the moving expenses alone.

2) Utility deposits: We are being asked to put deposits down for both the gas and electric service at the new apartment. Since our current apartment included all the utilities, we do not have active accounts that could just be transferred over, so they are treating us as new customers, which is why the deposit is required. The gas company wants $250, and the electric company wants $200, for a total of $450.

3) Medical Transportation: As mentioned above, Eph is going to have to go through 2 or 3 weeks of daily radiation treatments to treat a new spot of cancer that appeared on his spine. This means we have to travel to the hospital - a 56 mile round trip - 5 times a week for up to 3 weeks. The cost of gas for these daily trips is going to put a big hole in a budget that is already stretched to the limit, so I don't see how we can afford to get him there daily without help.

There are also several other, smaller expenses to consider, including meals for Eph while at the hospital for his radiation treatments, obtaining packing materials (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.), and more.


All in all, the amount I am hoping to raise should be enough to cover the utility deposits, the costs associated with Eph's radiation treatments & for obtaining packing supplies; and, most importantly, to pay for the truck and 3 men to do the physical moving for us. If there is anything left over, it would go toward paying for Eph's medical costs, as he has to take a number of over-the-counter supplements (lactose intolerance pills, probiotics, liquid vitamins, anti-gas pills, and nutritional supplements like Ensure & Boost) daily to help his body digest and absorb nutrition without a stomach - none of which are covered by Medicare.

I know times are hard for everyone, but I am hoping that by using this site, it will make it easier, as those who may wish to help can send as little as $1 - but if enough do so, it can add up to enough to get us through this immediate need.

Thank you to all who take the time to read this and especially to those of you who are able to donate to help us get through this crisis. For those who cannot, I completely understand, and ask only that you pass this on to others who may be willing and able to chip in.

Thank you all!!

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Maureen Mower 
Archbald, PA
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