I know I’ve talked a lot here the last couple of years about our housing situation, and why it is driving me crazy. We’ve been stuck here in this apartment for the last two years now, living with my husband’s ex-girlfriend for a roommate no less. Our apartment search this entire time has been one huge disappointment after another. We are being priced right out of even thinking of getting our own apartment, even in a not so great neighborhood.
There isn’t as much of a safety net for the disabled as a lot of people seem to think there is in this country now. Waiting lists for public housing are over a decade long if they are open at all, and most low income housing that exists, is set aside specifically for the elderly. My husband and I will not qualify to live in one of those places for quite some time yet.
The fact remains that the so called “fair market” rate for a two bedroom apartment is over 900 a month in this area. This is more than my entire income, and not much less than what my husband and I make combined. Think about it, that’s just rent, not heating the place, or keeping the lights on. It’s amazing how some people have the impression that the disabled are living so high on the hog, when we can’t even afford even a small apartment of our own to live in.
The worst part about looking for an apartment here are what places like to call “application fees.” Most housing in this area is owned by out of town investment companies, who hire locals to “manage” the properties for them. Most of these companies not only charge high rents, but want upwards of $150 dollars per adult in the household just to apply to live there, this fee is non-refundable if they reject your application. They also want the last 6 months worth of pay stubs, to see your tax returns for the last 3 years, a credit check and a federal background check just to be considered. Even if we don’t have to worry about our credit or income…who can really afford all those fees?
My husband thinks the reason he’s seen so many apartments listed for so long, is because these landlords are making more money not renting the place, and just rejecting people’s applications than they would actually renting the apartment. I mean think about it, if you get 10 applicants a week at $150 a pop,for an apartment that rents for 800, you’ve come out further ahead to let the place sit empty don’t you think?
Someone recently told us getting a mortgage right now is actually easier than getting an apartment because of that, so we have decided to try it. A mortgage does seem to be very much cheaper than rents here, our monthly payments would be only about a third of what it would cost to rent a comparable house in the same kind of neighborhood. The question is, can two disabled people even get a mortgage? Are they going to look at our meager income and not even give us the time of day?
All I know is I really don’t want to spend another year here, walking on eggshells in my own home, dealing with someone who’s not only his ex, but someone who’s mere outlook on everything from politics to family values, happens to be nearly polar opposite to my own. I don’t want to deal with someone who refuses to budge an inch on letting us have the third bedroom, when we pay 2/3 of everything here. My son having his own room will soon be more important than her having her “office” and a place to store all that extra junk she can’t squeeze into her already packed tight bedroom. I can’t stand the fact that she thinks it’s okay to smoke in here, when there’s a baby in the house, and she thinks it’s good enough that she just shuts her bedroom door. The smoke still travels, I can still smell it. We have an outside balcony for that, for pete’s sake, it won’t kill her to use it.
I want to be hopeful here, but it’s hard. Life right now just seems like a lot of jumping through one hoop after another, just to get further behind than when we began. When being here is so hard that I wan’t to pack my son up sometimes and move back where I came from, where things are awful but at least affordable, there is a problem.
All I know is that at least if nothing else, but for my peace of mind, by the end of the year, I want to be far away from here. I don’t care if we are in our own home having bought a place, or we have picked up and moved somewhere entirely new. I can’t take another year of the same old situation, and the same old worries. Something has to change for anything to get better, it has to.