Please help keep a tenant of 20 years in his home!

Please help keep a tenant of 20 years in his home!

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Joseph Williams started this petition to Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Beztak Companies (248) 855-5400 (586) 994-9500 Harold Beznos and

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this and, hopefully, signing. My name is Joseph Williams and for the last 19 years (20 in November) I have lived here in the Glengarry Apartments. During that time, before Covid, I was never late on a single rent payment. I had use the grace period for sure, but never once did I go past that.

To do a little math, I’ve been here 19 years and there’s 12 months in the year giving us a total of 228 months. My average rent during this time was $730. Now 228 months times $730 is $166,440. $166,440 paid and not a Dollar of it late until Covid. 

For a little back story on me and my time here, I moved in with roommates shortly after turning 21 in the two bedroom apartment at 860 Williamsbury. After a few years my roommates moved out and I ended up taking in a mother and her two children (a 3 and 5 year old) in from off the streets. I was 23. While the mother was in and out of the children’s lives dealing with addiction and other problems, I raised them continuously until they were 16 and 14, When their mother took them and tried to raise them on her own. Right after that I moved over to my one-bedroom apartment here at 947 Williamsbury where I’ve been for the last almost 8 years. Little did I know that during that time I would get the youngest back just two short years later and end up gaining legal custody of him so he could finish growing up in a loving and stable household until he was able to graduate and find a well paying job and afford his own place. 

I also put myself through college during this time, getting a degree in applied science of criminal justice, and another in general education. Again, all while never being late on a rent payment and working two jobs. 

And while I don’t mean to brag, my balcony during the summertime is a bit of a jewel within the complex. I live on the second floor and with the permission of my downstairs neighbor, I do large and elaborate floral designs with our space. Every year dozen/s of our neighbors within the community walk over to talk and see what I’ve done for that year. I’ll include pictures if I’m able. 

But back to the issue at hand. As we all know back in March 2020 the world shut down for Covid. For the last 10 years, my best friend and I had built up and run an A/V company From scratch. No it wasn’t a giant conglomerate or a multi million dollar power house, But for the few employees and specialists that we had, it paid well and was growing steadily. That all completely changed with the shut down. We only exist inside of peoples homes as we don’t have a show room or a main office. And with customers now not wanting anybody in their homes, as well as not even being allowed to legally operate for almost half a year, our business withered on the vine pretty quickly. For a few months with no money, I was able to pay all of my bills still but as it became clear that the lock down was not lifting within two weeks or even two months, I very quickly depleted my savings. First i stopped paying the credit cards that I had maxed out to try to keep the business afloat, then I was forced to not be able to pay rent. For the first time in almost 20 years I missed my first rent payment in July 2020. During this time I applied for unemployment and help through various organizations and finally in November, late November, I was able to get unemployment and help through an organization to pay my back rent getting back to a solid baseline in the beginning of January.

However, through no fault of my own, my unemployment wasn’t to last. The last payment I got through unemployment was on January 28, 2021. During this time when they switched over the PUA system, they tried to verify my identity but failed to send me the form to verify my identity. Noticing on my dashboard that they were trying to verify my identity, I called up to unemployment services and told them that I did not get the form, and was told (incorrectly) by the worker on the other end to fill out all the information on a piece of paper and to sign it and to hold it up with a picture of my license to verify my identity and send that in to unemployment and that would be considered valid. It was not. About a week later I got a call for which I still have the voicemail from, saying that it was a supervisor from unemployment and that what I did was not a valid way of verifying my identity and they were sorry and they would re-send out the correct form. Which they did. I received it a week after the deadline for returning it. And because I’m told it’s an automatic system, when my paperwork “failed” To be collected, the system shut down my case and locked me out of the dashboard to file a protest. Also, because I chose to go green and receive all of my notifications through the dashboard, this also locked me out from any correspondence that I could have with them. (To this day, it is still not resolved and now working with the governors office to resolve the matter.)

All of this of course meant that once again I was left without money, as our company had yet to pick up in January. So once again my rent starts to build up. During this time I had signed the CDC declaration and given it to the office and the lawyers as they have tried to evict me first in November. (Let’s keep in mind that the evection moratorium ends on June 30, 2021.) During this time I was also in constant contact with the office, and in April was told about the Cera program Through the leasing office. The leasing office was also adamant about handling the application themselves, as I had already started to fill it out. So I gave them all my information and the form that was already filled out and they processed it for me. I was also explicitly told during this time that when my rent was taken care of, I would be able to re-sign my lease which was up in April. Mind you I was also delivered the new lease to sign so I know that the intent of being able to re-sign my lease was valid. However, on June 2 I find a note on my door stating that the company has chosen not to allow me to re-sign my lease and I only have until June 14 to get out of the apartment before a writ of eviction is issued. I would consider that cruel and unusual punishment. You don’t tell somebody who has  lived someplace for 20 years, paid over $150,000 in rent and has been a model tenant that you were going to take charge and help them, Only to refuse that aid when it’s given and deny them their place to live. Also while illegally trying to kick them out before the end of the moratorium. How is it conceivable that any one person can pack up their home of 20 years within 10 days and find another place to live also within that time? 

I would also like to note that on our court date on April 20, the Property manager here, April, was asked by their attorney over our zoom meeting in front of the judge, if they had indeed taken charge to get my CERA application approved, To which she agreed that they did but had not yet received word. At no time there did she state that they didn’t want to except the funds should it be accepted. This is documented in court records.

To add insult to injury, not only were they going to pay the back rent, they’re going to pay three months rent into the future. And finally with the economy opening back up in vaccinations arriving our business is starting to breathe new life again and I’m able to actively afford my rent, being able to pay months ahead of time if needed.  

So I’m asking all of you, as someone who has spent their life trying to make the world a better place, to please help me. Please help me to keep my home because after June 14, I’m going to be homeless.

P.s the photo I used was taken last year with my best buddy Cohen on the balcony.  I lost him a day after my birthday this year when I couldn’t afford to get him treatment because of unemployment. He was 19. 

 

 

 

 

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