NEWARK, N.J. — Sheryl Harris says she and her mom, Rachel, have lived in their Newark apartment for 33 years. They were just days away from getting the boot because they’re more than $10,000 behind in rent. How did they get into this fix?
“Well my mom has onset dementia,” Sheryl told me. “She’s bed bound and does not walk. As my mom got sick she started letting a lot of bills that she was not aware of slip.”
Sheryl says when her mom became incapacitated she finally learned the scope of the problem.
Rachel, a retired teacher, is distressed that this is what her life has come to.
“To find out I’m facing being set out on the street. I worked so hard all my life,” Rachel said. “I’ve been a good tenant and all, lookin’ out for the building. And this is the thanks I get.”
Rachel gets a monthly pension and Social security. With a little time they can pay everything they owe.
So I went to the law firm representing the building. The lawyer wasn’t there, but she got my message.
Combined with help from the mayor’s office and the city council the eviction was stayed. On July 1st Sheryl paid the first installment on the back rent. In a few months they should be current.
We’re glad that reason prevailed and a woman who spent 37 years teaching in the city can stay in her home.