No Help for Employed Homeless 

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In August, my two teenagers and I were evicted from our apartment. The reason? We were one month behind on our rent after my ex-husband was killed in March 2013, and Social Security had made a mess of our death benefits.

We tried to work things out, but management didn’t want to work with us, so our info went to the attorney and we went to the street. We tried staying with a coworker, but that wasn’t good. We accepted an offer to stay with someone else, but their landlord threatened to evict them after a neighbor called and ratted them out for being compassionate. No room anywhere for this family.

I work one full-time job and I am getting ready to start a part-time job. We get SSI death benefits that, I thought, would be an OK thing. Then, I had a potential landlord tell me he really doesn’t like it much because he can’t go after the benefits if we don’t pay. Seriously?

We don’t qualify for Section 8 because, between work and SSI, our income is a tad too high. I don’t qualify for legal aid for the same reason.

We exist in West Valley City. My kids attend middle and high school there. Our two small dogs sleep in the car while I work.

I have contacted every agency possible.

Everything is geared toward the unemployed homeless. No help for those of us who need help getting into a home.

Feeding kids out of a car is expensive.

Ready-to-eat things cost a small fortune. I know I am not the only homeless person in West Valley. I see people with signs asking for help everywhere. I can honestly say I haven’t asked for a handout from anyone.

What I would like to see is an incentive for landlords to help families get off of the street: A state-tax or property-tax credit, or a program to help families with deposits. Paying more than $1,000 a month in rent is hard enough without doubling that for move-in deposits. How about a program for families to earn their move-in assistance by volunteering? A Habitat for Humanity type thing, maybe. How about emergency assistance for families in a jam because of a death?

I know we won’t find a rental soon. Nobody cares if your credit is in the gutter because someone else wanted to ruin your life.

I wish there were things in West Valley to help the homeless put their lives back together.

Victoria Cordero 
West Valley City

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