Access to affordable housing is a crisis we’ve been hearing about for a long time now. Whether it be the rising cost of purchasing a home or even the rising cost of rent, secure housing in urban centers in particular is becoming more and more elusive.
One elderly woman in Minneapolis found herself facing homelessness — until her neighbors jumped in to help.
Why an Elderly Woman Was Asked to Leave Her Own Home
Linda Taylor, a 70-year-old grandmother of nine from Minneapolis, had lived in the same house for twenty years. Unfortunately, during that time she had fallen victim to some back luck and some predatory practices. First, she had been tricked into signing the house over to its previous owners after falling behind on mortgage payments in 2004. These owners “generously” agreed to rent to her — without rent control!
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They raised rent over and over again until it reached $1,400, making it almost impossible for her to afford even during the best economic times. Then, the pandemic hit and Linda lost her job. The new landlord (the previous owners had lost the house after being caught in a mortgage fraud scheme) proposed that Linda buy the house, which was listed for $299,000. Otherwise, he was going to evict her.
How an Elderly Woman’s Neighbors Stepped in to Save the Day
After hearing about Linda’s bad luck and getting wind of the fact that she may have to leave the area, her Minneapolis neighbors decided to do something to help. One of her neighborhood friends turned out to be housing rights organizer 41-year-old Andrew Fahlstrom. She explained that she had reached out to social services and applied for grants and other programs to try and keep her home, but she was unlucky.
Andrew gathered their community together, writing a letter to the landlord and requesting that he postpone eviction and negotiate with Linda so that she would be able to stay in the house. 400 members of the community signed the letter — the pressure was on!
I knew my neighbors loved me, but I didn’t know how much.
How Love and Generosity From a Community Saved a Woman’s Home
The landlord acted quickly when he got the letter from Linda’s neighbors. He postponed her eviction and lowered the price of the house to $250,000, hoping that his tenant would find a way to get the money. Being unemployed, it still seemed out of reach for Linda. Her neighbors had other plans. They kicked off fundraising efforts, including a block party, an art show, and an online fundraising campaign.
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Additionally, the local church pitched in, donating $200,000 to her cause. The community was able to raise $275,000 by the time eviction day rolled around, enough for Linda to buy the home and make necessary repairs.
When it’s yours, it gives you a different type of feeling. I’m safe, I’m secure, and I have a home.
If not for the activism of her community, Linda Taylor would be homeless. Luckily, her community had her back. Now, her five children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren have a place to make memories.
Linda’s legacy is kindness and she was happy to know that her legacy is shared by those around her. We should all strive to make our communities safer and more accessible.
More Uplifting News from Goalcast:
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Don’t hesitate to help someone who may be struggling.
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