Our Eyes Were Opened

Study Notes from Angelika’s Journal, Chapter One

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Finding the journal in a pile of garbage on the side of the road indicates that people were most likely evicted from their home. When a landlord evicts a family, everything in the house is thrown onto the side of the road. A family may lose all their personal belongings: clothes, kitchen gadgets and dishes, special toys, and anything else that the family has not been able to remove. Once items are placed on the side of the road, they are available for people to go through for what they might find for their own use or to sell. People will tear up mattresses to get the box springs for scrap metal vendors. By the time the garbage is collected by the sanitation department, everything of any worth has been taken.

 Eviction is a legal process requiring court orders and adequate notice to a family. Unfortunately, some landlords will evict without giving the family due process. Sometimes a family will simply vacate the premises in the middle of the night to avoid interaction with the landlord. When that happens, many of their household goods are dumped outside by the landlord to prepare the housing unit for its next occupants.

 Finding a new place to call home can be a very costly thing to do. Not only does the family need to be able to make the monthly rent payments, they often have to pay a security deposit equal to one or two months’ rent and deposits for utilities. If the family has outstanding bills for power, water, or gas, they will have to take care of the back payments, add a large security deposit (large because of missing payments), and may have to pay a reconnect fee that will also be higher if they defaulted on a payment.

 Moving in with a family member may not be a possibility. The family’s network of friends and relatives may live as precariously as those who just lost their home. A neighbor’s house may already be full with people who are “doubled up,” living together because only one of them has a home. All the rest simply moved in. Occasionally the lease agreement does not allow extra people to move into the housing unit. If the landlord discovers the additional resident(s), the entire household can be evicted because of lease violations.

Angelika’s Journal is available at http://www.avenidabooks.com, at online retailers, and at Ten Thousand Villages in the Lewis Plaza on Augusta Road in Greenville, SC. 

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Author: bethltempleton

Beth is founder and CEO of Our Eyes Were Opened, an organization that teaches people about poverty so that they may reach out with wisdom and compassion.

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