Scam Victims Need Homes!

UPDATE 2018-10-17: We hit our $6000 goal in under 24 hours!! Amazing!! We've raised the goal to $8,250, which should be able to cover first, last, and security for every family. However much we end up raising, we'll end the campaign at 8:00pm on October 18th, and at that time the money will be distributed to the families. Thank you all so much for turning out.

Kianna Ousley and her three children were excited to move into their new home in West Philly. Her family has been homeless for two years, moving from couch to couch and shelter to shelter, all while going through a pregnancy. While the deposit drained all of her savings, this home meant stability, and it was going to be worth it.

On October 7th, she moved in only to find that the Lee family, the Williams family, and Zane Corley, were also moving in. Four families, 3 bedrooms, one bathroom. Something was up.

What the four families found was a house with no gas, no fridge, unfinished floors, and a broken water system that flooded the basement with sewage. It wasn't a house that could be lived in by anyone, let alone four separate families. When they tried to contact the landlord, he had vanished, taking their deposits with him.

It turned out, the "landlord" didn't own the house at all. He had been a scammer, who had broken into the house, changed the locks, and listed the house for rent. The house had recently been purchased by a family of three, and was still undergoing repairs. After buying a house, they can't afford to not move in once their current lease expires in a month. So the real owner needs to move in when repairs are done, but the four working-class families living there can't afford deposits for new housing after the scammer ran away with all they had. Ten people already won't fit, and thirteen definitely won't, but these families have nowhere else to go. So that's where we need your help.

Taneida Lee is a 34-year old mother, raising her 4-year-old son Alonzo with her husband. The Lee family had been living in North Philly for a year, only to find out their landlord didn't own the property. They had to move on short notice, but felt lucky to have soon found what they thought was legitimate housing... only to find out their new landlord was a fraud as well, and their new housing less livable than the one before.

Kianna Ousley is a pregnant single mother, and has three young children, (a 2 year-old, a 7-year old, and an 8-year old). After two years of homelessness and unstable housing, she was hoping to finally have a stable home for her family. She is determined to find her family stable housing ASAP and already has a good candidate if you can just help her afford the $2050 deposit.

Siquette Williams is a social work student living with her husband. She wasn't expecting her new housing situation to be a caseload of her own. She needs real, proper housing so she can get her degree and pay it forward through her social work, improving the lives of many more in Philadelphia.

Zane Corley was the first to move in, on October 6th, and was pretty shocked when Taneida and her family started to move in that night. It was one thing to have three surprise roommates, and it got worse when that quickly grew to nine.

Six adults, four children. Right now, all crammed in a small 3BR house without working utilities.

At the bare minimum, we want to raise back what the scammer stole, but ideally we want to raise enough to fully cover the move-in costs for immediate stable housing. It's vital that they move before November 1st, so time is of the essence.

If we can raise $2000 that will cover the money the scammer stole
If we can raise $4000 that will cover the security deposits for new housing, but some families might have to go into debt to afford the other move-in costs.
If we can raise $6000 then hopefully nobody will have to borrow any money at all, and every family will have a place to live.

UPDATE 2018-10-17: We hit our $6000 goal!! Amazing!! We've raised the goal to $8,250, which should be able to cover first, last, and security for every family. However much we end up raising, we'll end the campaign at 8:00pm on October 18th, and at that time the money will be distributed to the families. Thank you all so much for turning out.

Some of the families have potential new housing lined up with known move-in costs, others are still hunting. So we also need help finding them new housing on such short notice. If you are able to help with that please get in touch ASAP with Nadia Levin: [email redacted] who will forward your information to the families.

Please help us sort this out. We hope the police will catch the culprit and we can get those deposits back, but in the meantime we have twelve people uncertain of where they'll sleep in a month, and no idea how long the investigation will take, or if they'll even find the culprit. We need your help urgently!

When you chip in and donate, you're helping these working-class families get back on their feet, into real, warm, homes with working gas, working water, and a place to raise their families. Please really think about your capacity to give, and who you know who could give, and then give however much you feel comfortable doing, and ask others to do the same!

Because we are raising money for four different families, and GoFundMe only allows funds to be dispersed to one person, Jessica Levine has volunteered to be a proxy to receive the funds. The families will comes to consensus on how to divide the funds, and Jessica will write out checks accordingly. This also allows us to get the money to the families faster. 100% of raised money will go to the families, with none retained by the campaign organizers.


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Fundraising team: Committee to Fund Real Housing (3)

Shel Raphen 
Philadelphia, PA
Jessica Levine 
Nadia Elle Levin 
Team member
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