Who Cares About Us?
More than 40 people were facing eviction from their “homes” if the Annabelle Apartments on Bridge Street were torn down to make room for another Kwik-Trip. We sat down with them and heard:
**“This is a community. We look out for each other.” “We’re like a family.”
**“We have a vested interest to keep this place safe, quiet, and peaceful.”
**“We’re in a panic.” “I don’t want to sleep under a bridge.” “I don’t want to be homeless again.”
***”Where will we go?” “This is about a person’s dignity.”
Although, Kwik-Trip withdrew their proposal to build a store at the Annabelle Apartments location, the plight of the residents is not settled. A group of concerned citizens is investigating options for the residents.
Some residents have lived in the Apartments for over 20 years, others several years, others a few months. Many of the residents were homeless before finding a home at the complex. The rooms are available on a month to month basis providing transitional housing for those who need it. Seventy to 80% of the people work. Some are disabled and others have health issues.
The residents said this is a great place for low-income people with rents ranging from $280-$320 a month including utilities. The complex is well-maintained, warm, safe and clean. The former “Nunnery” has community gathering spaces and a kitchen. Showers, toilets, and sinks are on each of the three floors. A laundry room is on the lower level. The personal rooms are furnished.
All of the Annabelle residents are opposed to moving. The concerns and fears they voiced are many.
***Where would they go? There isn’t enough low-income housing for younger people in the Wausau area. The warming shelter closes for the summer months. The Salvation Army is full. One man said there will be a lot more homeless people if they have to leave.
***They do not have enough money for a security deposit and the first month’s rent. They wouldn’t be able to pay for a more expensive apartment, let alone pay for utilities.
The book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, addresses the issues of low-income housing and the plight of those who have been evicted.
***How would they move their few belongs? Only a few residents have vehicles. Most residents walk, ride their bike, or take the bus.
***As renters, they have no rights. They don’t have a voice. No one seems to care.
This is a case for justice for a group of people fighting for their homes and their dignity.
Surely, the Wausau community cares enough to work together to find a solution that doesn’t leave more people homeless.