First & Last Month Housing Deposit

Dear Family, Friends and Kind Hearted Strangers,

As my family and friends know, I am visually impaired and require some special services and support.   While I have been visually impaired my entire life, I have lived independently, on my own, since I became an adult.   This has been challenging but everyone has a  challenging life, just in different ways, so this gofundme isn't about the woe of daily living, but an emergency situation that has happened that I can't work out without assistance.

 My troubles began about a year ago, when the house I was renting came up for sale.  I had been there for five years.  The realtor promised me the new owners  would keep me on as a tenant.  The day before escrow closed I was given a 90 day notice to move.    I had to be out on December 31st , 2016.  This made it very challenging because there was no available housing to be found.  San Luis Obispo is an expensive,  small university town, so the housing was gobbled up by the students.  All rentals have a year lease, that generally end on June 30.

For a couple of months I was homeless and because of that I lost my in home support services.  March 1st, 2017 I was able to secure a place to live.  The house provided a place to sleep, but it has many challenges for me as a tenant. 

First, it is about three miles out of town, directly off highway 101, at the bottom of the Cuesta grade.  This is a high volume, fast highway and dangerous to drive on at times.  Walking in this area would be death defying!  While I normally live in an area where I can walk to the grocery store, take public transportation to my doctor appointments, etc.  and also easily navigate the activities of daily living this home doesn't allow for that.  With the house being so isolated, I don't  have access to bus services, only access to Runabout, which offers very limited service.  There isn't anything within walking distance and my normal daily living is difficult to accomplish.   But, I desperately needed a place to live and I was determined to make this work.

Second, the house is a 130 year old Victorian and has many structural issues.  It is rapidly becoming a construction zone as the owner tries to refurbish the place while I am living there.  While the owner did say she may come and paint a room or two over the course of my year lease, somehow this has morphed into greater projects such as stripping walls, tearing up bathrooms and  showers (which revealed mold issues!) and becoming a complete remodel. 

This has become somewhat dangerous for me to live in.  The construction is messy.  Door frames are covered and the plastic sags down.  With my visual impairment, I can't see that and get rather panicked when I walk through a doorway and feel as if I have been caught in some sort of horror movie scenario.  (shudder).  With my visual impairment, I have limited sight, but do rely on things being where I know they are.  The construction has no regard for the methodical living style I have and counters can suddenly be covered with plastic, rugs shoved over in front of door ways, etc.   These are just a few examples of how much more difficulat it has become for me to navigate around the home I live in.

I am not sure how things have gotten as far as they have, it is as if the "paint a few walls" has turned in to the owner having forgotten I even live here.  I came back from an out of town wedding and discovered a room in the house had been rented out.  I had no idea this was going to happen!  I tired to adapt, even though this was, well, odd.   I did go to the housing authority and ask what my options were. Could the owner just move someone else in without me knowing?  When the housing authority contacted the owner things went really awry.  The housing authority ended the Section 8 contract with the owner.  This caused the owner and her teenage daughter moved in and hand me a 90 day notice to move.  Yes.  They have moved in as my 90 days notice began!

It is very uncomfortable living in these conditions and circumstances.  I really need to find a safe, affordable living environment straightaway.    Which is why this is an emergency and I need help.

Finally, It isn't always easy to find someone that will accept Section 8, and I am always grateful when I find someone that does.   Having Section 8 housing assistance can make finding a place to live difficult, or extend the time it takes to find a suitable place for me to live.  I am very anxious that I may end up homeless and without in home support services once again.   With this being August, the students have long secured their housing for the school year, making it very difficult to find housing  right now.

The average cost to secure a place to live  is a deposit (about $2,400), first month's rent and last months rent.  The Housing Authority allows $1,100 for a one bedroom place.  Add to that the cost of hiring a van, movers and a driver and I am estimating I need $6,000 very quickly.

The Section 8 program I am in allows for approximately 100 days to find a place to live  or the program ends and you must reapply.  This means you go to the bottom of the waiting list for an open spot in the Section 8 program.

I am also on the list for affordable housing with the city, but they advised me that my number won't come to the top of the list for at least a year.    So, in the meantime I am utilizing Section 8 to make housing affordable for myself.  Therefore finding a place, and having the financial assistance is imperrative.  All this must happen quickly!

San Luis Obispo is my home and I feel that I am a contributor to the community.   I am active in my church, participate in community support by volunteering at the food bank to distribute food to the homeless and the elderly, I am a member of the Oddfellows, and I am involved with several fundraisers for other non-profit orgainizations throughout the year.  I have deep roots in the community and am committed to continuing my life here.  I appreciate your support in helping me continue to live a meaningful life of supporting others in ways I am able.

There are a few ways you may be able to help me:
1.  If you are a San Luis Obispo landlord, homeowner or realtor that has or knows of suitable housing that will accept Section 8, please contact me.
2.  If you can donate your time in helping me search for a place, please contact me.
3. Send a check made out to Oddfellows Lodge and send it to Chorro Lodge, 168 Dana Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401.  Attention: Help Thomas.  They are a 501c3 non-profit and your donation would be tax deductible.
4. Donate through this gofundme campaign.

Lastly, thank you for reading and considering contributing.  It might be a small donation from you, but it means the world to me!
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Thomas Athanasion 
San Luis Obispo, CA

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