Freddie Needs Our Help!
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Dear Citizens of Provincetown, Visitors and Friends of Freddie near and far,
Many of you have become familiar with Freddie’s plight, expressed concern for his well-being, inquired about his welfare, or generously donated to his go fund me to help keep a roof over his head, after he was illegally evicted from his family home in September 2018.
On Thursday, June 20th, 2019, Freddie and his advocate, David Chick, will be appearing before Judge Welsh, at the Orleans District Court with the hope that this eviction will be vacated.
Here are the facts of Freddie’s case, as I understand them:
When Freddie’s father passed away on August 3rd, 2002, the estate was passed along to his wife Patricia Rocha who then created a will, at the request of her other children, bequeathing the property to them, upon her passing. However, she also created a life estate for herself, which indicated that Freddie would have a home for as long as she is living.
In the 10 years between his father’s death and when his mother was moved to a care facility in 2012, Freddie, a senior citizen with limited faculties, took care of his mother day in and day out, until her needs deteriorated beyond the point of his abilities. Freddie cared for his mother as best as he could, by himself, as the only one of her children who lived in Provincetown. Freddie’s mother is still very much alive and to my knowledge, completely unaware of exactly how her youngest two children have treated their older brother who loyally stood by her side in her time of need - doing the best he could with the limited tools he had, along with a huge sense of love and devotion for his mother, as well as to his the rest of his family.
For the next six years Freddie was left without support of his siblings. A mentally challenged man left alone to fend for himself without check-ins, with a deteriorating skill set of his own, and minimal financial resources. Freddie spent holidays alone. He had no access to a vehicle, nor the ability to drive, nor a thorough understanding and a fear of public transportation. Without a phone or the financial means to use taxi services regularly, he travelled on foot to get himself to the doctors, to Stop and Shop, and to complete other daily tasks.
In May of 2018, Freddie’s sister Mary Welles started eviction proceedings against her brother claiming “I want my property back” in the petition. She previously had the landline at the home disconnected so that Freddie was unable to make or receive phone calls about any proceedings against him. Despite the petition of eviction filed by his sister requires the petitioner to declare if the defendant being served was a child or mentally incompetent person his sister failed to disclose or communicate with the court that he is a family member and withheld any information regarding her brother’s long term disability.
While those of us who know and love Freddie know that he does not have the full capabilities of understanding the seriousness or timeliness of the notice he was served. Freddie, a man who needs help to get help, then failed to show up to defend his right to his family home. Without a defendant before him the judge had no choice but to execute an eviction under the law with the lack of facts, as well as the facts being deliberately withheld from him by the petitioner, Freddie’s sister.
Freddie was then forced from his family home on September 12th, 2018, with eight Glad Bags full of his possessions dumped onto the lawn in front of his home, and the rest of his belongings being packed away in eighteen boxes and removed to a storage facility in New Bedford, Mass.
Now homeless and alone, David Chick found Freddie wandering in the rain in the early hours of the morning, and took him in, determined to help one of our town’s most beloved and vulnerable citizens.
Since September 13th, 2018, David has taken responsibility for Freddie, which as a seasonal renter in Provincetown has meant moving several times, staying in motels at times, and he has been acting as an unpaid caseworker and caregiver navigating any obstacles that might arise in Freddie’s case. During this time, he has set up a “go fund me” to ensure Freddie would not spend the winter homeless. He has also gotten his power of attorney in order to advocate on his behalf, representing him in court proceedings from his siblings, despite having no formal legal training. He has also gotten him set up with a litany of services so he successfully has the ability to care for himself in a dignified way, including a rent voucher, paid companion services, laundry and housekeeping services, access to mental health services and an EBT card so he can shop for groceries (I found myself surprised and delighted with Freddie’s choices when I took him food shopping, straight to the prepared food counter for caprese salad).
David has gotten Freddie on the waiting list for affordable housing at Maushope and for Harbor Hill, Freddie is currently living in a motel, switching between rooms as they become reserved for out of town guests, a situation which no longer will be feasible as we enter July and August and every room and housing option in town will be booked. Harbor Hill does not have occupancy permits yet, and there just is not enough affordable housing in Provincetown for all of the people who need it.
Freddie has a right to be in his family home as long as his mother is alive, and though his siblings can not be forced to let him stay there after she has passed, I hope that this petition will show them how much the town supports Freddie and is behind him. He can pay $2300 a month to his siblings which more than covers the expenses of the home, and his paid companion and laundry and cleaning services will ensure that the home will he kept in good condition. Even if Freddie was a stranger, these services, plus letters from landlords this winter, stating he was a model guest/tenant should be enough to rent to him, but he is not a stranger, he is a brother, who has the mental capacity of a child. I genuinely believe that if it were not for David, Freddie would not have survived the winter, but this situation is unsustainable and Freddie needs the security a permanent living situation would provide.
I have heard and seen many people comment that Freddie might be better off in facility, or a larger town like Hyannis where there are more services, but knowing Freddie, I could not believe this to be farther from the truth. Freddie functions well when he’s comfortable in his routine, and surrounded by people he cares about and who care for him. The alternative is terrifying for Freddie, and for those who care about his well being.
So friends of Freddie, please sign this petition to implore Judge Welsh to vacate the illegal eviction of Freddie Rocha from his family home.
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