Elderly Artist May Lose Home

Hello, my name is Lisa Whiting. I am an artist and Chicago resident posting on behalf of my friend and fellow artist Judy Hipsley, who is in danger of losing her home. This is her story.

My name is Judy. I am a 78-year-old artist from Chicago. I live with my adult disabled daughter, Sam. We have been living in our condo since 2007 and are now in danger of losing it because we got behind on our condo assessments. For the past 25 years, I had been working as a driver/delivery person at a messenger service. While it was not a high paying job, it provided enough to where I could scrimp and save enough to buy a home of my own. Though because it was a low paying job, I never was able to put much into savings. Until recent events, I had to continue to work in order to supplement my social security income and take care of my adult disabled daughter.

While social security covers the mortgage payments to the bank and some bills, it doesn't cover everything, so I had to rotate which bills to be late on in order to keep our utilities from being shut off. I have also applied for food stamps but was only awarded $20 a month because I make too much with my social security.

A few months ago a spell of Polymyalgia Rheumatica reduced my capacity to work. This illness makes all my muscles and joints ache. Walking, standing, getting up from any seated position becomes very painful. This bill was not completely covered by Medicare and has added another bill to the stack. Then 2 months ago my car broke down and I had to stop working entirely. This missing income was noticeable and I could no longer afford the car payment and had to let the bank repossess it. I am now $5000 behind on my condo assessments even though I am current on my mortgage payments.

As if things weren't hard enough, yesterday I fell and broke my hip. I am currently in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time and I am so scared how I am going to survive and what will happen to my daughter.

Simultaneously the condo board is running out of patience and within the next few weeks, they will be considering court proceedings regarding the unpaid assessments, including the possibility of putting me, with a broken hip, and my disabled daughter out of the condo so they can rent it out to make up for the back assessments. All the while I am still having to pay the mortgage until the debt is satisfied. I am now unable to afford another living situation at a rate I could afford on top of continuing to paying the mortgage, without work.

It is really hard to get around without transportation. At 78, I've had to slow down even before I broke my hip. I couldn't carry groceries or packages anymore. My balance isn't what it use to be which is how I fell and now I may be wheelchair bound. And at my age, I really shouldn't be working anymore. Living with my adult daughter helps a little. She can carry the groceries and clean around the house. However, she suffers from MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), and a severe anxiety disorder that prevents her from working. It is difficult for her to work a typical 8-hour job. She is paranoid about getting sick from working environments such as an office with carpeting, paint, and printers, or in a retail shop with merchandise and chemicals. She needs just as much help as I do, but as a result of her not working, she has been living with me rather than go on welfare. Her anxiety and paranoia have prevented her from helping me.

The money I am asking for would help me get current on the assessments and bills as well as 2 months of mortgage payments, and food for the two of us. It would also help me afford in-home assistance. This money can give me the freedom to spend my days making art, and pursue selling my work in galleries like I always wanted to! I recently acquired an agent who is working with me to find gallery representation. I wish I could sell my work fast enough to satisfy the condo board. It can also give me the time to spend getting help for my daughter.

The condo board is going to be filing court proceedings in the next two weeks unless we come up with $5000 immediately. I feel as if I have come to the end of my rope. I can't keep doing this on my own and my daughter just can't help. So I am turning to you kind people. A simple donation of just $5 to $20 can help me save my home and assure that I am taken care of for the next few months as I figure out how I am going to survive and thrive as an elderly artist.

Organizer and beneficiary

Judy Hipsley
Chicago, IL
Lisa Whiting

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