Last fall, Gisela Sance’s landlord approached her family about raising the rent.
He wanted $2,000 a month, an astonishing hike over the $1,300 she and her husband were paying for the house they lived in with their young son. The decision to leave was painful but not hard: There was no way they could afford a 50 percent increase in their rent.
It was happening all around her — in Austin, Texas, where she lives, and elsewhere. But that knowledge provided little comfort when, in November, Sance found herself boxing up her family’s belongings.
“This move was an emergency,” she shares through a Spanish interpreter.
The new place they found was smaller, farther away from their community, and in Sance’s assessment, less safe — she has installed a security camera. When her family moved in, they found mold, cockroaches and a general state of disrepair. And at $1,650 a month, it was quite a bit more than they’d been paying at the last place but still the best rate they could find.