Jon and His Cats Homeless Fund
I need help obtaining funds for a security deposit, first month's and last month's rent for a place that will take my cats and myself, U-Haul rental, and temporary storage space.
I am trying to protect my cats and myself from an unexpected 30 day notice which has caught me off guard. It was served in retaliation by an abusive and negligent landlord when I stood up for myself by requesting he make repairs to a broken shower, leaking toilet (which is a health hazard), and other essentials that have been greatly affecting our saftey and health for over a year now. With very little time or resources to generate funds for moving, my only choice is to reach out to others like myself, that love animals and care about lanlord neglect and abuse.
In June of 2008 myself and my close family of cats had to leave our home suddenly right before an unexpected 32 feet of water took it and most of our belongings away. I gathered my cats, along with three homeless kittens, and relocated to smaill rental room, until I found the apartment we live in now. It is a 50 Style Deco second floor one bedroom with 11 windows and drawers and cubby holes and places for cats everywhere. We have endured a lot here over the years, but we took the good with the bad and it has become home. Unfortunately my landlord, who ignored this property, over time has became a victim of his own mismanagement of his properties and decline of his own personal character. I have watched as quietly as possible while my lanlord has exerted control over poor, addicted, disabled, low income,minority, and elderly people that rent from him by using a variety of unethical tactics. These include using month to month leases to instill fear of sudden displacement to anyone that stood up to him. He hires "maintainence people" that readily intimidate tenants, and also carries a gun which he makes well known. Sadly as the local police will tell you, it is landlords like him that don't don't give the good a chance and rent to the bad.
My apartment is surronded by these things, but being on the second floor (I thought at least) I had a barrier. Satey and comfortablity for my cats has always been my first concern. oh and 11 windows facing in all directions. My cats are very important to me. You could call me a "cat person" for sure. I'm also an animal advocate who has rescued many many cats and kittens over the years. Most of my family of cats are rescues, they are my companions, and we have lived together as a close group for over 10 years.
We have all have had struggles in our life and if we're lucky there is someone there to help us, but even so, I find it very hard to ask. I do have a deep commitment to my cats and plan on fighting through this and working very hard if I'm given the chance to do so.
I officiate weddings and I am photographer but business has been down during the winter. I work hard and have a deep passion for capturing the true essence of people and animals as they live their lives. . When needed I have always taken other jobs to support myself and my innocent dependentsto make it through, while still doing what I love.
I've been renting the same apartment for 8 years. I have had a non-functional shower and a toilet that leaks into a rotting floor for over a year now. This has made my living environment unsafe and barely functional. I have repeatedly asked the landlord to repair these things. I have been told that when my rent is paid on time he will do the repairs. My landlord has also threantened many times that if I call the city housing inspecter he will evict me. The landlord has kept me on a month to month lease so that at anytime for any reason, he can give me a 30 day notice to vacate. I have been living in fear for some time now with no way out. Unfortunately I have never been able to raise the money to leave this apartment. In December of 2016, I paid my rent through February 2017. At this point the landlord promised to make the repairs on January 14th. In early January my heat went out for the second time in a month ( the first time which was in December 2016, it was for 9 days before the landlord fixed it). When I asked him to repair it, he told me to contact his property assistant, get a key, and fix it with him. At this point feeling a little more empowered because my rent was caught up, I politely, but more firmly then usual , explained that I felt it was his responsibility to do so, and asked that he please do it himself asap. This is where the ongoing abuse suddenly elevated out of no where and my landlord became retalitory and severely abusive. My situation went from having rent paid, having a date and committment from my landlord to make repairs so I could actually live decently, to him calling me names, threatening me, and telling me that soon I was not going to have a place to live.
On Jan.27th 2017 I received a 30 day notice to vacate. I don't know why this was a shock to me, especially considering how this landlord treats his other tenants and how he had been neglecting repairs. I have always been professional and polite when communicating with him, he on the other hand has been abusive, deceitful, controlling, and demeaning. It seems that he is well-versed in his methods of control but simply very poor at managing his properties even after 20 years of doing so .My friends and other people now that are standing behind me we're appalled by how he spoke to me. But somehow I never dreamed that he would essentially rip me and my cats from our home of 8 years. My biggest failure was believing that this person did have some scruples or feelings or character. I lived in L.A. for many years where I endured a lot, but with my cats on the line here, I have to admit, even I succumbed to his fear tactics.
On February 14th I started my campaign after my friends urged me to over and over. I truly did not believe that I would receive any help. I became very emotional while starting to realize the grim possibilities ahead of us. Amazingly there were people that understoodn there were friends that cared about me from way back, and an army of supporters who arose to the occasion. It wasn't until the last week of February that I could actually seriously look at finding a new place. And when I did I realized how much I was up against. When the reality set in, that even with my income it was going to take an unusually high amount of funds to even have a chance. I raised my goal...
* NOTE *** I have had to raise the goal because I underestimated the costs of rental properties and pet deposits. IF SOMEBODY KNOWS A CAT-FRIENDLY LANDLORD IN THE CEDAR RAPIDS OR SURROUNDING AREAS AND SMALL TOWNS WHO MIGHT HAVE A PROPERTY AVAILABLE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I also had no idea if the original goal would have been made, so I am very grateful for everybody who has contributed so far. WE ARE IN A TIME CRUNCH NOW.....
I felt that if I failed because I fell short it would be even more of a disaster. Because there were people that wanted us to succeed. To this day, March 2nd 2017 I have been fighting day and night non-stop for solutions and the funding sits on ice ready for when it is time to be used. I'm not going to let it go to waste. My goal is to find somewhere safe insecure for my cats and do it right the first time. I want to make the last chapter in this struggle a success story for my friends and donors who have believed in me and want the cats to be safe. Right now I'm still in the middle of it all . The hard part is still to come. I do need to reach or exdeed my goal to insure that I have just enough combined with my income to land on my feet with a healthy place for my older cats. They never should have had to move. and for that I owe them security.
UPDATE March 3rd, 1 am.
Today my back up fell through .We are now without an emergency spot. I had a bit of a breakdown today when I got the news but my good friend Craig who has been Vigilant even through his own deepest struggles, picked me up from the floor and pointed me in the right direction. I connected with some amazing people deeply involved in agencies here as he suggested and by luck came I came across a landlord who actually has a large family of pets of every type. He is the first landlord so far out of so many that thinks he might be able to help us. Tomorrow I will have more answers. Right now without even knowing what tomorrow is going to bring, I feel faith suddenly. life changing for me, and life changed by you. Yes, I will keep you posted.
"Some people never go crazy, what terrible lives they must lead"
If it was just me I would have been out of here by now no matter where, but I coexist with cats that are my family, my rescues. Those of you that get it, please give us one more push, please keep believing in us. Thank you! "Ask for help, not because you're weak, but because you want to remain strong."
Time is running out, I am on the phone non stop etc. but I still need Help finding a place, please network and refer me to a place in Cedar Rapids or surrounding area that is CAT FRIENDLY. Need to land somewhere good!
CATS.....This is my family, trying to prepare and give extra love in the middle of all this.
Big relief - I now have an emergency spot for the cats secured if needed while moving, my goal is to not have to move them twice...big relief of a major worry!!
SLEEP, faith, resources, and strength from all my friends and supports! I am working towards the day I can share our success story from a safe new home!