Lives torn asunder:

Published November 30, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

EDITED 12-3-15:

And I sincerely thank a fellow WordPress blogger for clearing up the misinformation about the vet story. From other message boards I read he was a hoarder and stayed in Florida mostly.

The first shocking article I read about came out of New York where a 68 year-old vet traveled to Florida to undergo knee replacement surgery. There were some complications after their post-op and the vet had to stay with a friend to recuperate until he was well enough to return home six months later. And what happened when he did go home in August? He was greeted by an empty lot. The town where he resided for 68 years of his life decided to demolish the vet’s family house they had lived in since they were 6 months old. It stored all of their childhood memories, personal belongings, family antiques and photos (of which the vet will never recover). The vet’s neighbor’s (of just 12 years) came right out and stated the property fell into disrepair, the house was an eyesore to the community, etc.

The vet corrected by stating they were paid up on their property taxes, mortgages on the home, etc.

Since the article left out A LOT what I gleaned from it is a spin on the ‘woe-is-me’ tale. And from doing a little more reading the vet wasn’t bad off (financially-speaking).

In another related article I read about an elderly couple living in Washington who were recently evicted from their place by none other that subsidized housing authority (Section 8). Good or bad, I once had to rely on Section 8 eons ago, and believe me, once I moved and no longer needed the assistance ,I swore I’d never go back. I was always living day to day back then (prepared to move at a moment’s notice) since the Section 8 program has a history of displacing a lot of tenants and the program itself tends to fail and funding runs out.

So why did the Section 8 program want to boot this elderly couple to the curb even after they agreed to buy the property that was going up for sale? Because they’re too old and Section 8 wanted to jump on the house flipping band wagon. Plus they wanted the elderly couple in a one-bedroom, cramped subsidized apartment.

While the new mod-cons may appeal to some, Section 8 in Washington said it wanted to vacate as many tenants as they could, fix up the houses/ apartments they already own and sell them to younger working class people with oodles of money. But there’s a problem. The Section 8 funding can only go so far. Most of the houses/apartments they did end up dumping off sit empty with no takers and haven’t been lived in for months, even years perhaps.

As a society, however, we seldom hear or read about these personal tragedy stories and when we do, we first thank our lucky stars it didn’t happen to us personally, then tend to light up the comment section that exclaims the elderly couple should have gone to work, they should have gotten an education like one commentor did and feels no sympathy for those truly needing government assistance. Commentor was on ‘a’ [non-specified] government training program that taught them a very boring trade, but then commentor joined a union, had a retirement savings, all their kids work, have two autos, a large nice house, no slackers and no laziness here—etc. The article didn’t ever say if the elderly couple were slackers or moochers in life.

But for a lot of people in this economy they can’t get ahead. They can’t find jobs, and if they do, there are certain restrictions on how many hours they can work. Part time won’t cut it. Even on a full time job it is difficult to make ends meet. I do feel for those that must work two jobs just to stay afloat.

But what struck me as curious was the similarities both articles had. The elderly couple lost all of their belongings when the Housing Authority came in and threw out everything they ever owned and they had to ask their adult kids to help raise the money so they could buy their property from Section 8, which as no surprise, asked more than the property was worth. The place the couple lived in since the 1970s was never remodeled or was it ever sold. It still sits vacant.

Do I see a creepy new trend cropping up or are these just isolated cases that leaked into the media? There’s a reason I never fully trusted the Section 8 program and why I never put faith in government programs. Yes, they are there when you’re in an emergency and need food and housing assistance. And these two articles made me seriously think to myself, “Growing old is going to suck.” Growing old doesn’t come with any stability especially not one of the three fundamentals for survival: shelter.

Since the elderly couple’s story was very one-sided and a lot left out there’s no telling what exact circumstances forced them to be evicted by the Housing Authority without so much allotting them a certain time frame to get their belongings and move. As a society we tend to blame the person’s circumstances as being a stereotypical ‘working the system’ sight unseen. Generational poverty gets mentioned in the comments and the person(s) are publicly shamed for being poor and doing nothing to better their financial and/ or educational status in life.

Thanks for liking, re-blogging, commenting, sharing, I sincerely appreciate it.


6 comments on “Lives torn asunder:

  • As for the first story (the vet) there is far more to it than what you read in the news. Read this local post for more insight:
    From all appearances the veteran is not an innocent victim. I live on Long Island and know of the area this house was in; the people who have commented on the City-Data post above are 100% percent correct about the conditions there, and the local court filings are also cited. Unfortunately the news media love to spin things a certain way without mentioning other aspects of the story. I’m not familiar with the elderly couple’s story but as for the first one… I agree with many of the people who are posting on the forum I linked to, that the man had actually taken advantage of “the system” rather than being victimized by it.

    That’s not to say that most vets are not being shortchanged — many many are! — but that this particular person should not be mistakenly turned into a poster boy for injustice. I do hope that people don’t fall for this sob story and end up sending money to him!

    • Thank you so much for shedding light to this vet’s story. It never entered in my mind that he might have ‘worked the system’. I suspected that there was A LOT the article left unsaid. So what I read was a very tragic, woe-is-me story. Thank you so much for clearing up a lot of this for me. I never commented on the actual article as I feel a lot of people had done so.

  • I wrote a comment a few hours ago but it seems to have not posted… possibly because I included a link within it? Anyway, the gist of it was that there is more to the veteran’s story than was told in the news media. It has been documented that not only was the house in a condition that violated the town’s health and safety codes (numerous reports were made by neighbors to the town about trash, rodents, etc) but that the veteran not only knew the house was in foreclosure but actively filed bankruptcy three times in order to delay it. Notices were posted by the town onto the house itself. The veteran had a Facebook page on which he posted photos of his vacations in the Virgin Islands and cruises he went on, but that he bought a new motorcycle shortly before his planned surgery. According to neighbors this man spends his winters in Florida (apparantly owns a condo there) and simply let the NY disintegrate. This is not someone who is a victim! Public records show that the IRS had a lien on the house for nonpayment of income taxes and the house was in foreclosure when it was torn down. The veteran had multiple loans against the house (the five banks mentioned) that he was not paying… the mortgage was only the first (primary) creditor and so even if he had paid the mortgage up to date, the other loans had the right to foreclose. The vet had enough money to pay a lawyer to file bankruptcy three separate times — he was probably just waiting for the town to tear the place down for code violations, because it was in such bad condition that he could never hope to sell it.

    I used to be married to a lawyer who did foreclosures, and I can tell you personally that only a very SMALL percentage of people who lose their homes do so out of unavoidable hardship. The vast majority either deliberately got in over their heads financially, or are knowingly playing the game. It takes at least a year (several, if the owner keeps playing the bankruptcy card to delay things) to foreclose on a house in NY, and that’s with a lawyer who is very very good at it. I hope that nobody is suckered into sending him any money because of reading the very incomplete shock-headlines media reports. :-/

    I do not feel sorry for the veteran in that story at all. If he had enough money to buy a house in FLorida, go on vacations and cruises, and buy a new motorcycle in anticipation of his repaired knee (not to mention his

    • Thanks so much for clearing up the mass confusion this article put me in. Therefore, I will go back and edit what I wrote. Seeing that he had money– and I can’t figure out why he wouldn’t upkeep his NY home and just be happy to live there. I wouldn’t be able to tolerate a ‘second summer home’. My tiny money pit keeps me on my toes. Thank you again for your comment. I truly appreciate it.

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