Case On Point

Nick and his Mom, Betty

Today, the Times-Picayune ran an article about affordable housing issues in New Orleans.

This is a timely issue personally because I found out that my friends, the Causey family, have been evicted from their shotgun rental this week.

From what I know, actual eviction takes 3-months of deliquent rent to take action and according to Betty she did go before a judge who ordered the landlord to work with her because she had $600 of the required $800 but the landlord refused to accept it. Plus, Betty has pride and I think she was apt to try to walk away from someone who wouldn’t work with her. Who knows. I can’t find a good reason why the landlord wouldn’t work with Betty, maybe they wanted more rent or were trying to get tenants in who are friends. Sure, maybe I am not getting the full story, but I am not an idiot. Even in the best of circumstances, it doesn’t take a Bernanke to do the math about how to raise three kids on a supermarket salary.

What I can say is that Miss Betty works at Rouse’s and her kids are the most polite and smart kids in the entire neighborhood. I am a private person, not a crusader by any means. I am not one to invite the entire neighborhood brood into my home. However, Nick and Josh have proven their integrity with me over time. They always ask for snacks and even to use the bathroom. We have done great projects together of all types and we have enjoyed our time together and I have posted those episodes below. In fact, Nick and Josh are far more self-sufficient and resourceful than most adult house guests to whom I have played hostess over the years.

I am concerned because Miss Betty works hard and she’s very level-headed and has not benefitted from any rental assistance so far, she’s been trying to make it on her own But right now they are unable to do so. Of course, there is the chance that if this family is left without any help that these kids, 11 and 12 yrs, could fall into the easy-evil that abounds in New Orleans and be sucked into the drug dealing/violence culture.

One might say, “Well she shouldn’t have had so many children.” Perhaps, but Miss Betty is doing one helluva job raising these kids and the fact is, they are here, and they are exceptional and they have added a lot to my appreciation of life in very short order. What is the alternative? To ignore them?

This week, Miss Betty had to give up some hours at work to find a place, giving up some income, it’s a vicious cycle. She found a shotgun for rent for $800 a month with central air and heat and a washer and dryer on site in the LSU/VA area on Palmyra. Betty put all their stuff in storage quickly, banking on the fact that the first month is only like $40, hoping to get it moved before the $100+ amount kicks in next month. They can move in on Tuesday, once Betty gets the Entergy hooked up, however, they are short $380.

Tuesday is also Betty’s birthday. I am doing my best to rally some resources to help make this happen because in the meantime they are spending $40 a night in the Holiday Inn downtown, wasting valuable monies which could be spent on rent in a stable home.

Ultimately, I know we have to figure out a way to get the family some sort of rental subsidy, such as a voucher, so that they can have a stable place to live. So far, Betty has only applied for housing that is currently being built and is on a waiting list . . . Of course, they don’t have internet at home, so even resources such as Craiglist and other information is not within easy reach.

Today, one reader who has previously assisted the family is helping out with a donation toward the family’s first months’ rent and I am going to float some money. Some good samaritans who have recently become aware of the situation also have offered $40.

The previous posts of our adventures :

Dinosaur Days at the Zoo

Nick’s Essay Assignment

Back to School

Eight Books

The Body Betrays Us

Sully’s Story


Betty’s Birthday

Nick and I Do Blue Dog

Nameless Kitty RIP

2 Comments so far

  1. reallowvibe on June 29th, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    Hi Laureen,

    If we’d like to help out, is there a specific method we could use to donate?

  2. Laureen Lentz (no_laureen) on June 29th, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    Yes, any donations can be sent to:

    Mindy Nunez Airhart
    Southern Services and Equipment, Inc.
    321 Bayou Road • Saint Bernard, LA 70085
    504.220.0819 cell • 504.682.8800 office

    Mindy’s offered to accept them at her office in order to avoid giving out personal information. Mindy’s Mother has donated a large portion of the money needed immediately today.

    Thanks !

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