LOS ANGELES – Rent will be due in a few days and there is a growing movement in Los Angeles demanding help.
Angelica Gonzalez has to make an impossible decision every day; either go back to work and risk getting sick or miss another rent payment.
What You Need To Know
- Angelica Gonzalez spends most of her paycheck on rent
- Gonzalez is one of the voices in the COVID-19 Diaries Project
- The United Way of Greater Los Angeles' Everyone In is behind the collection of stories
- They are hoping lawmakers will push for rent forgiveness programs
“Health or wealth you know it’s one of those things I really don’t have a choice,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has lived in her East L.A. apartment for one year. She works the graveyard shift at a gas station to pay for it. Her 17-year-old son lives with her, but her other kids live with a relative.
She was hoping to reunite her family by saving what little money doesn’t go to rent and moving into a bigger place, but now her savings are depleted.
“I’ve always worked, always been able to pay my rent so it hurts my feelings. I feel like I can’t be responsible enough,” said Gonzalez.
While the fight against coronavirus rages on there is a fight going on within her. Gonzalez has lupus.
“That’s why I have to hang on to every penny. Am I going to take my seizure pill today or am I going to take Advil? It ain’t been easy,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is one of the voices in the COVID-19 Diaries Project. The United Way of Greater Los Angeles' Everyone In campaign is behind this collection of stories. They are hoping lawmakers will hear these struggles and push for rent and mortgage forgiveness programs.
Forgiveness is key because even though Gonzalez gets food stamps, received a stimulus check, and her landlord has been somewhat understanding, eventually they will have to stop kicking the can down the road.
“I’m scared like getting notices or anything on my door cause it took me so long to get here even in this little shoebox. I don’t want to lose it,” said Gonzalez.
Long Beach Democratic State Senator Lena Gonzalez introduced one of the first bills to provide bailout funding for renters and landlords suffering from missed rent payments. SB 1410 would have the state pay for 80 percent of missed rents for up to seven months. Renters must prove they are hurt financially by COVID-19.
The United Way of Greater LA is encouraging people to sign a petition telling elected leaders to pass rent and mortgage forgiveness. They report nearly 5,100 people have signed the petition so far.