My now adult daughter is in the kitchen, preparing a salad for a late lunch, as we tend not to eat at prescribed times on weekends.
"Here" is a small, efficiency apartment, located on the premises of a motel, on a busy commercial strip in the City of Gardena, a working class suburb in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. We have lived here for the past 7 years, after leaving our last place which I chronicled in great detail here: www.houseofperpetualdistraction.com/thoughts-feelings-impressions-blog/understanding-job
Soon, we will need to move again.
The newest trend, since the start of the Pandemic is "renoviction": the removal of long-term tenants in order to renovate their apartments, and thus charge more money for them. claremont-courier.com/latest-news/longtime-tenants-blindsided-by-threat-of-mass-evictions-67391/?fbclid=IwAR2Ob--uqEHf4zdfZd4j0Y3woGduY-Vg2c_9JrdSoeQKyY853gvISYW2bMc
And this is far from a California only issue: youtu.be/KgTxzCe490Q
Everywhere you turn, anything evenly remotely affordable is being gobbled up by corporate entities, and the long term residents being forced out. Although this has existed in some form for many years, it has recently reached epidemic proportions. It is utterly heartbreaking, what is currently happening to the working class, the disabled and the elderly.
Being inside of the trend is no walk in the park, either.
I have spoken of my housing issues several times in this space.
I just sat down and calculated, that between 1992 (my first attempt at moving out and living on my own) and now, I have moved house no less than 20 times. This includes one homeless shelter, one maternity home near the central part of California, two long term motel stays, two alternating stints of living with other people, and one attempt to live out of state. And if you are doing the math, my son was on the majority of this journey with me, and took a lot of the brunt of my seeming inability to keep it together for more than a couple of years at a time. In a lot of ways, I feel for him; it could not have been easy being the child of someone that was still in the process of growing up herself, and trying to cover all bases while trying not to look "weak", or seem as if she couldn't handle "it", whatever "it" happened to be at the moment.
I received the type of education that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
Although I knew that I was to get and keep a job and pay my bills, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do when I didn't have enough money, and I didn't have the childcare available to cover either a 2nd job, or continuing education to get a better job. I discovered that temp work in offices (Receptionist, Secretary, etc) paid better than retail, but found out the hard way that the only way to keep working was to be registered with more than one agency at a time, and try to string the assignments together with as little gap in between assignments as possible. I also found out that most companies saw the majority of temps as tainted in some way, as well as VERY expensive (one place told me point blank that they would not pay for employees) and refused to hire permanent employees from temp agencies. Up until I finally started working for the City in 2005, I had settled into the mostly horrific pattern of working for a while (usually, just long enough to settle into the apartment, and being able to make all of my payments on time), then not getting assignments for just long enough to lose whatever apartment I was living in (read that however you want), then getting picked back up in just enough time to find another place. Rinse, Repeat. During this time, a former friend also introduced me to the quick fix (with dire consequences!) of signature loans and payday loans. The less this horror is discussed, the better. I knew so little about credit, loans, and the like (the internet not being what it is now, back then) that I was living off information from dubious sources that did not have to directly deal with the consequences of my not knowing any better (or thinking I was smarter and knew better than I did at the time) until it was much too late in the game.
By the time I found a wonderful little place in Hawthorne in 2006, I had learned many hard lessons, I finally had a car, and I sincerely hoped that I could take what I learned and do better.
Well, yes and no.
Although I was able to remain in that place for 8 years, between a change of owners, and almost constant car issues (currently on my fifth car since 2003, between stints of not having one), History is a bitch that keeps on giving, and now here I am, this time through no fault of my own, back in the position of trying to overcome a need for housing on short notice with of course, inadequate funds.
The building we live in has been sold, and the new owners want to renovate. Which means all long-term tenants need to leave.
Please know that I wasn't trying to live here indefinitely. But I wanted to leave on MY terms: when I had adequate money and time to finally fix my credit issues once and for all, and wasn't rushed or in a panic.
I have been dealing with this, nearly non-stop, and eventually with two children, since I was 20 years old. I am now 50. Between my children and myself, there is definitely some collective PTSD around moving and housing security.
I will retire in the next 10-13 years, It is my hope that by then, I will have finally landed somewhere permanent, and never have to move again.
I can only hope. And Pray.