VA Transitional Housing residents (me) are responsible for paying 30% of our income for rent. The maximum we have to pay is $350. This should be so simple, but it is not simple-- at least, not for me.
I signed up for automatic withdrawals to pay my rent, back in June 2013. For three months, no money was taken from my account for rent. There was no explanation for why not until the end of summer, when I found out that the authorization form had never been sent from vets house, where I live, to the office that deals with rent.
I repeated, over and over, that there was no money being taken out for rent, and that I wasn't going to send a check and risk double paying. I don't have the money to cover a double payment, and I'd really like to stay good with my bank.
When automatic payments did start, Porchlight pulled the maximum they could from my account, plus more. This overdrew my account.
Since automatic payments started in September I've had only one month where something close to the right amount was pulled from my account. Every other time they have pulled the maximum, instead of looking at my pay stubs. For December they tried to take out $350. Of course the bank said there were insufficient funds to send, and they were right to do so. Thirty percent of my income last month was $180, which would have processed and paid without a hitch.
Today I got a knock on my door from Case Manager, who left me a letter indicating that Housing manager would be going to court today to start eviction proceedings against me. The letter gave me the choices of pay, leave, or be evicted and removed from the program.
My regular meeting with Case Manager was this afternoon, so I talked to her then. Seems there was an earlier meeting at Porchlight where Housing Manager said that enough is enough, evict him-- over the arguments of both my Case Manager and the Grant-Per Diem program manager.
It's below zero outside at night and you're going to put me back on the street? Fuck. That. Especially when I'm working my ass off to get the rent paid, and they are overcharging me for rent.
I do owe back rent, but I do not owe the maximum for every month. I have pay stubs to prove it, and I've submitted them. When I last talked to Housing Manager rent needed to be recalculated for several months. The next information I got from her was a 5 day notice to pay $1200 last month- coincidentally the approximate amount of three months of rent at maximum. In other words, the three months when they didn't take money from my account even though they were authorized to do so.
Today was payday-- I've had no money for the past two weeks-- and so I made a rent payment of $180 by check. I also put in writing that Porchlight is no longer authorized to take money from my account.
I also spoke with Assistant Housing Manager, who listened to my story and thought it was quite... odd. Especially since I still have no payment plan set up. According to AHM the payment plan gets worked out by the case manager, not the Housing Manager.
Hmm. ok. News to me, especially since HM comes to vets house every couple of weeks-- to set up rent payment plans for residents at vets house.
Of course, these visits are at 0930, when I'm knocked out on sleep meds. Ambien does not understand "I only want five hours of sleep".
Dealing with rent related issues keeps my anxiety at a very high level. This makes it hard to ride out PTSD triggers, which makes everything worse.
Earlier this year I had to talk to the Patient Advocate's office after a Porchlight maintenance employee continued to work in my room, knowing that I was naked and asleep a couple of feet away.
I received an apology letter from Porchlight in May. The matter went above Housing Manager and rolled downhill.
I'd hate to think that the continuing problems with getting my rent issues resolved are related-- seeing as how I don't drink, don't use drugs, and I'm never violent towards anyone. I follow the rules. If I'm left alone, as I prefer to be, I don't get in anyone's way. My income is low enough that I still qualify to live here. How else would I be evicted, other than over rent?
I don't make idle accusations.
I have a meeting with Housing Manager on Monday. What happens during that meeting will determine what happens next.
Enough is enough. Indeed it is.