"We have till Monday (12/10)," said the dad of the family in a Reno motel. He, his wife and their 6 kids, ages 16 to 3 months, lost their house of 5 years when the landlord didn't do essential repairs and the city inspected, slapping "CONDEMNED" stickers all over the house. They had from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. that day to vacate.
Critics can stand down--the family is a good family--mom works, dad works when construction work is available, and provides a sweet level of child care when his wife works.
They've looked at over 30 possible rental sites, but nothing has panned out. Needing 2 motel rooms to accomodate the size of the family costs over $400 a week. So far agencies have helped. After 2 weeks, that assistance is poised to end. What little income/savings this family has will make this unaffordable in a short time. Then what?
This is when the affordable housing arguement becomes reality. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Reno's got some affordable housing issues. I'd also suspect that a family with 6 kids runs into some veiled discrimination.
So, as the sounds of Christmas spill forth from casinos and shopping malls, this family is counting down to disaster. They're in a motel. HUD doesn't consider them homeless.
They've been evicted from a condemned house. They can't find another place to live. They don't have enough money to stay in this motel for much longer. They don't have family or friends that can take them in.
Seems to me that HUD officials should walk in their shoes or live under their roof. We'd probably have a different definition of homelessness by Christmas.