Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 22, 2011 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5771

Working Poor Need a Place to Live

By Mitch Albom






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You smell it the minute you enter. An inspector said it was one of the worst cases of mold he'd ever seen. Kristy and Amando Wilson walk you to the basement, which has been flooding on and off since last year. Some kind of pipe problem, they were told. The floor is stained. There is wet, dark sewage. The odor clogs your head. You get halfway down the steps and you want to turn back.

You can. They can't. For the Wilsons, this is home. Married nine years and raising eight children (four from an earlier marriage), they found it one of the few places they have been able to rent.

She works. He works. They raise their kids. They go to church. Heck, they lived above a church for a while. They have endured a long, winding, pack-the-bags pattern, moving in with relatives, with friends, into shelters, back to rented duplexes. They are not unique. Just a family constantly in search of a home -- in a city that has more empty houses than it can count.

And now, despite a mold problem that hasn't been addressed by the landlord, they say they're being evicted for past due rent.

This is not a sob story. This is a Detroit story. One that repeats itself over and over, block after block, year after year.

"We met working at McDonald's," Kristy recalled. Amando was a manager. Kristy was on the crew. They married five years later. As newlyweds, they lived with an aunt for six months. Then they rented a duplex with three other families. After that, Kristy got sick with kidney and bladder issues, and Amando had to take care of the kids. Money got tight "and we got put out," Kristy said.

They landed in a Salvation Army shelter.

They lived there -- as a married couple -- until qualifying for a program that led to an apartment. That lasted two years. After that, times got tough again. They wound up living in a space atop Landmark Temple of Deliverance on Linwood Avenue, with all their kids, they said, for nearly a year before bouncing to friends' and relatives' houses.

Imagine all this time trying to keep your children in school, trying to hold a job, trying to keep track of your possessions. Eventually, they saved up $700, which they gave to a man to let them move into a house which he said he would rent them for $500 a month.

"He gave us the keys," Kristy recalled. "That same day we found out he didn't own the house. And he ran with our money."

That led them to their current house in Detroit, the one with a sewage and mold problem no human should have to endure. For this, they say, they pay $650 a month. Yet because they are behind on the rent, they're being evicted next week. My efforts to reach the landlord were unsuccessful, but who would take this place after them?

There has to be a better way than this. Cynics might say, "Why have all those kids?" But no one says that to rich families.

Cynics might say, "Get a job." The Wilsons have. She works in a nursing home. He works for an alarm company. Neither can get full-time hours. But they are out there trying.

Kristy and Amando have not given up. They've stayed married at a time when vows are commonly disregarded. They go to work without a car, relying on busses or cheap taxis. They tell their children, "Things will get better."

I'm not saying the Wilsons are perfect. They have had issues like all of us.

But somewhere in this city there must be a place for them. And for other working families who are trying to make it. You hear constantly about houses in Detroit that can't sell, that they're giving away, that banks reluctantly take over.

A glut of buildings and an overdose of poverty should make matching needy families with places to live a lemons-to-lemonade situation. I know Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries is trying to help the Wilsons.

Because no American family should have to live with the smell and health hazards of their mold-infested basement. To have that potential poison near all those children is beyond tragic, it's just plain wrong. And it cries out for action.



Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2011, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles