The chemo has been really difficult. Two years ago I started experiencing tremors and cognitive decline. Some days you can only understand about half of what I'm saying. The tremors are awful, add to that, the words get jumbled up in my brain and it's a mess. I'm not allowed to drive and certainly can't go anywhere alone.
My bestie is Chuck. Rivera. He was a Navy Veteran, an amputee, diabetic with heart failure and End Stage Renal Disease doing PD dialysis. He lived with my youngest daughter and helped take care of my granddaughter Catherine. He was an amazing person and he worshipped Catherine. She was the center of his universe.
My son Matthew is 29 and born with cerebral palsy and spastic diplagia. After radical back surgery known as selective dorsal rhizotomy at age 4, hard work and determination he's working on becoming an independent member of society. Texas Rehabilitation Commission is assisting him with job training to become an IT tech. His income is $750 a month. It's certainly not an easy life but our family works together to make sure everyone was taken care of.
August 2017 was catastrophic for my family. Three of my four children, both of my grandchildren, and my best friend lost everything in the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. I mean everything. Their homes, cars, toys, clothes, shoes, every piece of furniture, every book and pictures. Their lives were turned upside down.
After a few months of putting the pieces together, they finally found places to live and started the healing process. Chuck and Matt couldn't find anything they could afford and I wasn't able to live alone, so we found a nice apartment that was part of the low income housing tax credit program. Three bedrooms are $1012 a month so we signed the lease and moved in around November 17. My grandchildren spend a lot of time with Chuck, Matt and I so it was important that we have something suitable for them and this was Mary Poppins. PRACTICALLY PERFECT in every way!!! It was home.
On February 7, around 2 a.m. the alarm on Chuck's dialysis machine woke us up. Matt went to check on him. He was on the floor unconscious. I called 911 and Matt started CPR. Paramedics came and tried to revive him to no avail. We're devastated. He was such a big part of our family and now he's gone. My granddaughter had been with him almost everyday of her life. He never married and never had any kids of his own, but he had mine and we were a family.
I've lost my best friend, my confidant, my rock. Our landlord came by to express his condolences and told me Chuck's death doesn't release us from the lease. After looking it over, he's right. They can move us to a smaller unit but we'll have to reapply. Our deposit isn't transferable so we have to up a new deposit which is between $350-700. Once we move the deposit, minus whatever they hold out wool be refunded.
Here's where it gets sticky. Our total income is $1500 a month and a 2 bdrm is $879 plus electric. Our income has to be 2.5 times the rent to qualify, which it isn't. We can get on the waiting list for housing that fits our budget but that takes time, currently more than 3 years.
We have to stay here until at least December 31 because that's when our lease expires. An eviction or broken lease would only make it harder to get another apartment. It also disqualifies us for most Section 8 properties. We've had a lot of uphill battles and good has always found a way to get us through the darkness. I need to show that our yearly income is being "gifted" the additional funds to qualify for the apartment and pay the deposit. I honestly canal finds another way to make this happen. Thank you for your time and consideration.
- Eileen Carrigan
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