Faces of Renting Project: Miss Linda (4/4)
Miss Linda has been living in Powderhorn Park for the last 15 years. When she stands out on her porch, neighbors stop by and say 'Hi' or browse through the Little Library in her yard. Before moving to her house in Powderhorn, she lived in Phillips for ten years; she considers the South Central Area her community. Miss Linda has worked all over: at Waite House, as a drywaller, in contract construction, at the Midtown Global Market selling cards, and most recently at Pillsbury House + Theater as their Intergenerational Specialist.
Miss Linda emphatically asserts that her house is hers, as she was working with the owner in 2006 towards owning the house. However, in 2011 the owner went into foreclosure, passing the mortgage along to a new owner, leaving Miss Linda still paying rent and the feeling that “I’ve been messed around” by these men. Now, Miss Linda is stuck paying ever-increasing rents while the current owner dodges her requests for clear paperwork, an updated lease agreement, and follow-up on her long-term renter status.
This is especially frustrating as Miss Linda has poured her heart and sweat into the home over 15 years. As we walk through the breezy 2-story, she shows me how she’s improved and upgraded permanent fixtures and used her construction skills to re-plaster the ceiling and walls. She also is clear that the current owner has not attended to any of the structural necessities; she’s taken care of heat, insulation, gas line, water line, and plumbing improvements through various assistance programs. Miss Linda is devastated to think that she could get priced out of this home into which she’s invested so much.
Her home is the heart of her family. As a single mother she’s helped raise grands and great-grands in this home, and she says family comes through almost every day. Their pictures adorn her entryway, and connect to a stretch of old photographs of Miss Linda’s ancestors. The family lineage, stretching generations in both directions, wrap around her home, filling it with life even though she lives alone.
In the fight for her home, Miss Linda keeps asking “what is the benefit for me staying here? Why should I stay?” But knowing her roots, journey, and network, I’m worried about what Powderhorn will be if she has to leave.
For more questions about the project, or to get involved, contact email@example.com.
Thank you CURA and the Artist Neighborhood Partnership Initiative grant for funding this series.
This work is made in partnership with Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (http://www.inquilinxsunidxs.org), Heidi Romanish, Nancy Musinguzi (@afrikansniper), and CURA’s Artist Neighborhood Partnership Initiative Grant. * Greater Powderhorn is Powderhorn Park, Corcoran, Bryant, Whittier, Central, Bancroft, Lyndale & Standish Ericsson