Welcome To Rent Court, Where Tenants Can Face A Tenuous Fate : NPR

 

courtroom_wide-small.jpg

Today, more than 11 million families spend over half of their incomes on rent, and for the poor, it can be as much as 80 percent. That means millions of Americans face the threat of eviction, or they live in substandard housing because it’s all they can afford. NPR’s Pam Fessler has been spending time at the rent court in Washington, D.C., where the struggle between low-income renters and landlords over affordable housing often comes to a head.

In some places, it’s called rent court or housing court. Others, eviction court. In Washington, D.C., it’s known as the Landlord and Tenant Branch. This is where landlords in the city sue tenants, usually because they failed to pay the rent.

Each weekday morning, dozens of people can be seen filing into the three-story courthouse where their cases will be heard. And maybe their fates decided. Everyone passes through a metal detector. Women with small children. Elderly tenants with walkers and canes. Several of those who gather in the hallway wear work uniforms. They’re nurse’s aides, security guards, grocery store clerks.

The tenants are among the city’s poorest residents. And while this city’s population is less than half African-American, according to U.S. census data from 2014, almost every single tenant here — day after day after day — is black. The white people are usually attorneys.

In the wood-paneled courtroom the loud wooden pews squeak loudly during roll call of the day’s cases, which can run into the hundreds. This court had 32,000 cases last year alone. In an effort to help lighten the caseload, the judges encourage tenants and landlords to try to work out a settlement before they’re called into the courtroom. And many of them do, often with the help of a court-appointed mediator.

‘Could Be’ Homeless

“My name is Lisa Brown. I live in Southeast Washington, D.C., in Atlantic Terrace. I’m currently $6,000 plus in arrears, of back owed rent.”

Outside the court, Brown says she calls herself the new face of the “could be” homeless. She has just signed a deal with her landlord. If she doesn’t come up with the money she owes in a couple of weeks, the landlord can evict her from the apartment she shares with her three children and a grandchild. Brown works at a hotel, but she says it isn’t enough.

via Welcome To Rent Court, Where Tenants Can Face A Tenuous Fate : NPR

Advertisements

Tents, campers and dogs, oh my | Cabins, containers, tiny homes and yurts, oh my

A Shared Story from one of our fellow homeless friends:

It has been quite awhile since we last posted. It was a pretty difficult year for us and now we have finally landed in a tiny camper in the desert (southern California). It will be and has been pretty hot for us and we are happy to have our new home. Well, all I can say is I wanted to live in a tiny home and I sure did get my wish. Will write more about living in a camper soon.

Meanwhile you can read more about camping with dogs and more at the link below as well as about a great insulated tent called a Shift Pod. It is waterproof, wind resistant, built for the harsh climate of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada (hot during the day and cold at night), and easy to set up (in less than five minutes). It is six feet high and can easily fit a queen size bed and a table and chair, and other gear for your camping adventures. Also being utilized as relief/disaster shelter and shelter for people without homes.

http://celiasue.com/2016/03/28/camping-is-for-the-dogs/
https://shiftpods.comhttps://shiftpods.com

Source: Tents, campers and dogs, oh my

ShelterBox Provides Shelter, Warmth And Dignity

Why can’t we shelter our homeless in this country?

In the video below, the narrator says, “…gives them everything they need to start their lives again.”

What’s it going to take to get people to hear one of us asking this one question?

The tools are available. Their are a few willing people to put these projects together. Yet we still have about 2mil documented homeless in this country.

Doesn’t this break anyone’s heart but mine?
~ gnat