Antoinette Rose is a widow, a mother and a grandmother, and for 25 years she worked in accounting jobs. She had her own house, a car, paid her way, and raised kids as a single mother.
Now, disabled with a brain disease called Chiari Malformation that is actually worse than it sounds, Rose is behind two-plus months on her rent. In the middle of a government shutdown that has slowed ways for the disabled to get help, Antoinette Rose will in just days have another word for herself.
“Homeless,” Rose said. “I will be out. Evicted. I have a car. I guess I will have to stay in that car.”
The letter came Friday – a message of dread. No shutdown stops the collection of money. Her window until eviction closes on Halloween.
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In part because of the government slowdown, Rose said she has been unable to get anyone with the federal government to help her try to stave off the sheriff showing up with an eviction notice.
“There is nobody,” Rose said.
Rose is not blaming her landlord. The landlord, like all landlords, expects the rent.
“They have worked with me – I owe the money,” Rose said. “$1,760. The problem is I don’t have the $1,760. I don’t have twenty dollars.”
Rose’s disability payments have not been affected in the shutdown’s two-plus weeks. But when Rose’s disability payments were interrupted for a couple of months because she had to re-prove her status after moving from New York to South Carolina, she fell behind on the rent and other bills. Even with disability payments restored since June, the two- month interruption left Rose behind.
Her daughter, Deven Kelian, 31, set up a makeshift bed in the kitchen of the tiny apartment to take care of her mother almost around the clock.
“Nobody seems to be able right now to even get us an answer on help, let alone help,” Kelian said.
Without food stamps, and some donated food from a pantry and neighbors, Rose would have almost no food.
“Fish sticks, beans,” she said of what is in the tiny kitchen.
“Don’t forget the box of macaroni and cheese,” her daughter said.
Antoinette Rose has a scar along her neck from the surgery after her brain and skull condition was diagnosed a few years ago. Because of the disease, her brain is falling through the bottom of her skull in the back, where the brain and spinal cord come together. It has turned her from a productive woman into someone who is almost without mobility. Wednesday, her daughter had to help Rose get dressed.
“I worked, I was productive, I asked for nothing,” Rose said. “Now I can’t work.”
Before her illness, Antoinette Rose was one of those women who volunteered at a food bank, serving the homeless meals on holidays and weekends. She had two kids as a single mother, and worked days and went to college at night. She cleaned houses for extra money.
And in less than two weeks, Antoinette Rose won’t be able to use a walker to get to the restroom in her apartment. At 50, she won’t have a restroom.
She won’t have an apartment.