Single mom forced to sleep in her car due to eviction

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 1:45 PM EDT
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A new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition revealed that minimum wage workers have to work 86 hours each week in order to be able to afford a one-bedroom rental home in Florida.

Contact 5 spoke with a woman in Delray Beach who works more than that and is being priced out of her home.

"This is my next home," Katie Rister told Contact 5 while sitting in her car.

In six days, Rister will be forced to move out of her Delray Beach home, with nowhere to go.

"It's stressful. I'm blessed that I have this to sleep in. Without this, I'd be on the street," she said.

Rister told Contact 5 she fell behind in rent in June, even while working two jobs and 90 hours a week. Then, she learned her lease was being terminated. After that, she got an eviction notice.

In an email sent to Contact 5, her landlord's attorney said:

"Ms. Rister was on a month-to-month tenancy and was timely served a notice of termination on May 23, 2022, that the tenancy would not be renewed and would be terminated on June 30, 2022. Under Florida law, the landlord has a right to timely terminate a tenancy, without reason. However, the property requires plumbing maintenance whereby the flooring will need to be removed and the unit will be uninhabitable during that time. Ms. Rister failed to pay rent for June and failed timely vacate on June 23, 2022, and was thus a holdover tenant. The tenant entered into a settlement agreement and requested that the move-out date be Aug. 11, 2022, which the landlord obliged. As part of the settlement, Palm Beach County Housing Assistance agreed to pay the landlord on behalf of the tenant, the outstanding rent for June, July, and per diem for August. These are amounts that the landlord was owed under the law. The landlord also waived additional amounts which it is entitled for a holdover tenancy and its Attorney's Fees and costs."

Rister said the eviction has now lowered her credit score and she can't get approved for a new place.

Her two boys are staying with family while she tries to figure out what to do.

"The worst part is being away from the kids and having the kids somewhere else," Rister said. "When you have to say goodnight and I love you over the phone every day instead of just walking in the room, it's hard."

According to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, minimum wage workers, like Rister, have to work 86 hours each week in order to afford a modest, one-bedroom rental home.

"It's staggering. It's stunning. It's an unrealistic expectation," Maura Plante, with Living Hungry, said.

Plante works to help people, like Rister, who are being priced out of their homes by finding them temporary housing.

"We're not alone. Even Palm Beach County is not alone. Collier County, other counties that have this wealthy upper group that is utilizing the services of low-income people," Plante said. "And where's the hope? Have we hit a corner? Are we turning a corner? Have we made it into this recession? I'm not feeling like we're out of this."

These are questions Rister is also asking while evaluating the resources available to help people like her.

"We're getting priced out of paradise. I'm ready to throw a dart at a map and just go once my kids graduate from high school," Rister said.

A Go Fund Me has been created to help Rister and her two sons.

Scripps Only Content 2022