Help a mother get out of horrid living conditions

I am a 38-year-old single black mother of three children, ages 17, 12, and 2.
In the midst of a pandemic, I struggle daily to keep my family together, fed and a roof over our heads. For months, my landlord has tried to evict us from an apartment we moved into last May.
The apartment we leased is deplorable. From day one, I’ve asked the landlord to do basic repairs. There is mold everywhere. Because we have no hot water, I have to boil water for us to bathe in. We have no air conditioning and keep the windows open to get any cool air. Even at night we have to keep the windows open to sleep.
There is a giant hole in a wall. Instead of making repairs, the landlord demanded we pay rent or vacate.
We had nowhere else to go so I just toughed it out, doing the best I could.
My 12-year-old daughter and I got sick from being around all the mold. I thought I had COVID-19 and had to get tested. The daily stress is unbelievable. It wears me down day by day. Everything got so bad I had no choice but to break up my family. My two older children moved in with my mother, who has a more stable income and can care for them until we get our lives back on track. My 2-year-old son is with me and I’m doing the best I can to make sure we’re safe and don’t wind up in the streets.
The landlord still refuses to move me into another, safer and more decent apartment. Now there are leaks from my bathroom into a closet. Mold grows on my furniture and my son’s toys, our clothes, and shoes. It is growing up the walls and onto the windows.
My first eviction notice came in August. I thank Florida Rising for getting me through a difficult court process. Thankfully, I got a CDC emergency court order to let me stay put. I applied for the eviction diversion program in November. But my landlord, still refusing to make repairs, applied immediately in 2021 for another eviction.
I followed the same steps as before and won another emergency order to stay in my apartment. But I don’t know what the future holds. I need help for myself and my children.
Florida families are suffering and need help.
Safe, affordable housing is a human right.


Bathsheba Collingwood
Orlando, FL

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