Saturday, September 15, 2012
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
LAS VEGAS, NEV. (ANS) -- A trip to Las Vegas is one people talk about for years.
However, for the city’s homeless and hungry the experience is one they’d prefer to forget.
After giving them a gift card for a fast food restaurant, I asked Renee if she would mind talking to me a bit about her experience of homelessness.
Renee told me how she and her family ended up on Fremont Street. She said she paid her landlord’s wife $700 on the second of the month; $100.00 cash and a money order for $600.00. However, Renee continued, she was unaware that at about the same time she was paying her rent that her landlord was at the local courthouse, starting the eviction process.
As a result, Renee said, “The marshal came in … and kicked me and my three kids out. ”
Renee continued, “My kids are bipolar. My son hasn't taken his medication in over a week. My kids have theirs, but my son doesn't. (The landlord) won't let me back in the house to get their food, their cloth(ing); nothing. The pound came and took all their animals and I have to pay to get them out. I don't have no money.”
Renee said the police haven’t harassed her. She said, “They come by and check on me, ask me … if … I got plenty of water. They make sure that me and my kids are OK.”
At the time we talked, Renee and her family had been homeless for about two weeks. I asked her how she was handling the experience.
Renee said it had been rough. “ Right now I'm staying in my Suburban in a friend's back yard, and it's been really hot. It's been really hard for me and my kids. I told myself I'd never do it again and this is what happens. I end up being back on the street again with my kids.”
Renee said she does get food stamps and social security, but her family’s need is greater than the assistance she receives.
Renee said she’s a Christian, but had been unable to get any help from area churches.
I asked her how the kids were coping with the situation. She said they handle it, one day at a time, but her son gets pretty upset.
I told Renee that her children had beautiful smiles, and that they must help her keep going.
She said they do, adding “My kids keep me going every day. If it wasn't for my kids I'd be in the nut ward.”
I asked Renee what she would like people to know about her family’s homelessness.
She said she wants them to realize that landlords cannot bully people.
Renee added, “They need to stick up for what they have. They have rights. The owner of the property that they are running, they are supposed to make sure the house has air, heat, proper everything. And that's what the landlord is supposed to do.”
Renee said if landlords don’t live up to their responsibilities, then how are you supposed to survive.
She continued, “ If you have to fix it and take it out of your rent, (and) the landlord don't accept that, you have to give him the full amount. So how are you supposed to survive if the owner of the property won't cooperate with the tenants?”
I asked Renee how she feels when she wakes up every morning. She said, “I want to cry.”
I asked one of the kids how they feel. The youngster replied, “I feel sad because I don't have a home and I feel bad for other people.”
Renee said if she had one wish it would be for a house.
I added, “And some food maybe?”
Renee said, “Yes, for my kids. I could go without for quite a while, I don't care about me. I just want my kids to have the food.”
Renee said she’s out on the streets every day. She said, “Yeah, because it gets so hot where we're at so I have to come down here to sit where it's nice and cool. And then I have to walk back to where I'm at.”
As Renee told me her mom and dad used to say, “‘You gotta take it one day at a time. If you don't the devil’s going to bring you down.’”
That’s so true. How else can you stand hours, days and weeks of wondering where your next meal and night’s shelter is going to come from?
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
Send this story to a friend. Share