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70-Year-Old Woman Tells Neighbors She’s Being Evicted, The Neighborhood Bands Together To Buy The House For Her
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Good News, People2 months ago

70-Year-Old Woman Tells Neighbors She’s Being Evicted, The Neighborhood Bands Together To Buy The House For Her

What comes to mind when you think about home? Is it the one you’re in now or is it a place from your childhood? Is there a particular smell or sight that you immediately envision? Regardless of what it may be, we can all agree that certain attachments are made to the place which makes us feel the most safe and comfortable. So what happens when it’s in danger of being taken away from you?

This was the situation a 70-year-old lady faced after her landlord announced that he’d be selling the house she called her home for over 18 years. But her neighbors were not going to let that happen.

Gather round the dinner table, dear readers, while I present you a story of hope and community spirit. Before we continue, though, please leave your thoughts on this story at the end and tell us what you associate with ‘home.’ Your upvotes and follows are incredibly appreciated! Now let’s dive into it!

More info: SaveLindasHome.com | Facebook

70-year-old Linda Taylor felt like the world had been pulled from under her feet when the landlord of the house she’d been renting for 18 years terminated her lease

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

Linda Taylor rented a little white house near Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, for 18 years. But in January, 2022, her landlord sent her a notice terminating her lease and asking her to move out by April 1. He wanted to sell the home where she raised her five children, leaving the 70-year-old retiree in a dire situation.

“This was not good,” Linda told Star Tribune. “I took care of this house every day. Every appliance I own. All the utilities for 18-plus years, I have paid for.” She initially owned the house, having bought it in 2004.

Although she bought the house in 2004, she got caught in a mortgage fraud scheme, making her sell her house. It was then purchased by her landlord

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

As told by The Washington Post, she started falling behind on payments and felt she was tricked into signing the house back over to the previous owner, who allowed her to stay on as a renter.

In 2006, her landlord was caught in a mortgage fraud scheme, and Greg Berendt, her current landlord, purchased the house. He raised her rent twice during the pandemic and let repairs and maintenance issues linger.

She worked at a local nonprofit organization for nearly three years before she was laid off during the coronavirus pandemic. Linda lost her paycheck but continued paying rent – about $1,400 a month – using her savings, money from family, and government subsidies including RentHelpMN, a program started during the pandemic to aid Minnesotans at risk of losing their housing.

He gave her 3 months to move out of the property, as he wanted to sell it, but she was determined to stay

Image credits: savelindashome

When Taylor’s landlord told her to vacate, it was like “a stone had just dropped on me,” she said. “It felt like the world had been pulled from under me,” she continued. “My house means everything to me.” Although distressed, she was determined to stay.

She explained the situation to one of her neighbors, Andrew Fahlstrom, 41, who worked as a housing rights organizer. They’d had a lovely friendship with Linda ever since he moved into the neighborhood 6 years ago. “If we actually believe housing is a right, then we need to act like it, because the next stop is homelessness,” he said.

She confided in a neighbor who worked as a housing rights organizer, and the story spread quickly throughout the community that their beloved neighbor needed help

Image credits: savelindashome

Soon, word got around that one of their beloved community members needed help. The neighborhood of Powderhorn is located just a few blocks down from George Floyd Square and, as told by neighbor Jenny Jones, most of the residents formed close bonds with one another during 2020’s summer of unrest.

The neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without Linda, the sassy grandma who spent a lot of time outdoors in her garden, chatting up everyone who came up to explore her Little Free Library. She’d always volunteered for the betterment of the neighborhood and now she was the one in need.

“We just immediately shifted into high gear and started meeting and trying to figure out a plan to help rectify the situation and ultimately allow her to stay in her home, which is what she wants to do,” Jenny said.

Image credits: savelindashome

More than 400 people signed a petition, which demanded the landlord cancel the lease termination and start negotiations to transfer ownership of the house to Linda

Image credits: savelindashome

“People listened to what Miss Linda was saying and wanted to do something,” Andrew said. “It was just such a clear and compelling story that everyone rallied for her.”

More than 400 people signed a petition which demanded the landlord rescind the lease termination and commence negotiations to transfer ownership of the house to Linda.

A neighbor wrote a column in Southside Pride, arguing that after paying more than $200,000 in rent over the years in addition to the cost of upkeep, Linda did not deserve to be displaced.

“The neighborhood’s being proactive in what they’re trying to achieve here and I give them kudos for that,” Greg said. “We’re not trying to cause any issues… We’re willing to work with her in any way we can for her to purchase the home. I’d like to see the home go to her.”

They won an additional 2 months of time, but they had to find ways to raise $250,000 for the home

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

Greg agreed to give Linda until the end of June to raise a mutually agreed-upon amount – $250,000 – before he would list the property publicly. A small win gave them more time but they had to act quickly and secure the necessary funds.

On April 1, the original date by which Linda had been asked to vacate the home, neighbors threw a block party in the street outside it. Music, dancing, and food was shared among the community, with signs saying ‘Stop evictions!’ and ‘Save Linda’s Home!’ uniting them in their cause.

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

Donations from the party as well as ongoing fundraising since mid-February through a campaign site and a fundraising page, bringing in donations in amounts of $5 to $15,000, resulted in a substantial sum, but not nearly enough to buy the house. “It’s such a crazy market right now. It’s not the greatest time for this, but it’s the right thing to do,” Jenny said.

The campaign website stated: “Miss Linda means so much to this community and has put her own love and labor into maintaining her house as her home. Her community and neighbors are clear: We will not allow her to be evicted and displaced!”

Block parties, art auctions and fundraisers ensued, but a donation of $200k by Longfellow’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was what tipped the scale in Linda’s favor

Image credits: savelindashome

The next thing they thought of was to host an art show at Modus Locus, where Linda would be auctioning off her paintings to add further money for the house. Pie & Mighty and Jakeeno’s offered to cater for the event at their expense and Brass Solidarity joined in to play.

Time was ticking, but Linda was grateful for all the effort her neighbors were putting in. “I still love my community no matter what happens,” she said. “I still love Powderhorn. I love my neighbors. They’ve been so good to me.”

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

As of May 31, a full month ahead of deadline, Linda officially closed on the house, with any additional funds covering repairs and utility bills

Image credits: savelindashome

What tipped the scales completely in Linda’s favor was a donation of $200,000 by Longfellow’s Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, whose Stepping Out in Faith committee works on housing issues in south Minneapolis. This led them to raise $275,000 in three months. “When that came through, my faith grew bigger than a mountain,” Linda said.

As of May 31, a full month ahead of deadline, Linda officially closed on the house, any additional funds covering repairs and utility bills.

From a petition to copious donations from people who were touched by her story, this had become an incredible example of the great things people can do when they come together. “I’m not going anywhere now,” Linda said. “It’s saying a lot about my neighbors, and a lot about my community. Without them, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

“I’m not going anywhere now,” Linda said. “It’s saying a lot about my neighbors, and a lot about my community. Without them, this wouldn’t have been possible”

Image credits: savelindashome

“It’s a modern-day miracle,” said the Rev. Angela Khabeb, who thanked the landlord for having a change of heart and working with neighbors to close the deal. “People need to be able to walk by that house, and even if they gave $5, they know, ‘I helped Miss Linda stay in this house. We won.'”

This story shone light on issues people face daily, but it also brought forth hope that anything is possible when the community works together. “This is a really hard time in Minnesota,” Jenny told Star Tribune.

“We wanted to take a stand for our beloved community member staying here… but we will be continuing to meet and figuring out how we can keep our community together and what we can do to support others who might be struggling with rent.”

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

Jenny emphasized that Linda’s campaign started with her confiding in a single neighbor. “I know there’s a lot of people out there that are too scared to tell or don’t know what to do,” she said. “Tell people so we can help you.”

After nearly 20 years, the house was finally Linda’s to keep. “When it’s yours, it gives you a different type of feeling,” she said. “I’m safe, I’m secure, and I have a home.” She plans to continue hosting backyard barbecues, movie nights and lemonade stands with her grandchildren.

“I’m safe, I’m secure, and I have a home,” Linda said. After nearly 20 years, the house was finally hers to keep

Image credits: Save Miss Linda’s Home

Linda is determined to pay the kindness forward. “I’m here to help the next person and the next person and the next person. It’s been an amazing journey, and it continues on,” she said.

We hope that Linda enjoys her home for many more years to come and that anyone facing a similar situation is able to find solace and help within their community.

Let us know what you thought of this story, remember to share your warmest memories of home, and I will see you in the next one!

People loved the community coming together for a good cause, although some wish it had never had come to this. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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J Nic
Community Member
2 months ago

“Housing market so corrupt and expensive that entire neighborhood has to band together to purchase one house.” There, fixed the title for you.

Leah Whitson
Community Member
2 months ago

Right. Ppl who've fallen on very hard times and have received waited years to receive a section 8 voucher now can't even find a rental and eventually lose it and in turn become or remain homeless. Rising costs, good landlords no longer giving low income ppl a chance, slumlords making more $ than ever...not good. Hopefully, this doesn't bite the no-hassle renters in the rear...oh wait it already has!

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Meeow
Community Member
2 months ago

That's a good neighbors and community!!! I'm happy for her!

JuniorCJ82
Community Member
2 months ago

At first I was like why would they do that to a sweet older lady and then I saw the pictures and I knew exactly why. Disgusting. Good for the neighbours for standing up for her.

Becca Hauck
Community Member
2 months ago

Our country doesn't care about old people, poor people, and people of color. This sweet woman had the trifecta. I'm so glad that her struggle finally ended.

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J Nic
Community Member
2 months ago

“Housing market so corrupt and expensive that entire neighborhood has to band together to purchase one house.” There, fixed the title for you.

Leah Whitson
Community Member
2 months ago

Right. Ppl who've fallen on very hard times and have received waited years to receive a section 8 voucher now can't even find a rental and eventually lose it and in turn become or remain homeless. Rising costs, good landlords no longer giving low income ppl a chance, slumlords making more $ than ever...not good. Hopefully, this doesn't bite the no-hassle renters in the rear...oh wait it already has!

Load More Replies...
Meeow
Community Member
2 months ago

That's a good neighbors and community!!! I'm happy for her!

JuniorCJ82
Community Member
2 months ago

At first I was like why would they do that to a sweet older lady and then I saw the pictures and I knew exactly why. Disgusting. Good for the neighbours for standing up for her.

Becca Hauck
Community Member
2 months ago

Our country doesn't care about old people, poor people, and people of color. This sweet woman had the trifecta. I'm so glad that her struggle finally ended.

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