With only two weeks remaining until the Cedarwood Apartments tenants must leave, many of them are already feeling left out in the cold.
According to former A.S. President Cervin Morris, only two of the families at 6626 Picasso Road have found a place to stay once they move out at the end of this month. Meanwhile, Luz Silva and her daughter, who have lived in Cedarwood for 10 years, said they are just one of 15 families that do not yet know where they will be sleeping the day after their eviction.
“We’re still waiting,” Silva said. “We hope to find apartments like some of the other families have, but there’s a lot of desperation.”
The Cedarwood tenants, who originally received eviction notices in August, settled in court last month after claiming discrimination: The mostly low-income Latino tenants said Conquest Student Housing, the alleged new owner of the property, wanted them out in order to rent exclusively to students. Tenants were given $800 to cover their security deposits and an extension to their move-out date.
“This is not a settlement by any means,” Morris said. “I think it has been spun by the press to say the families got something, but 30 days and $800 is not enough.”
The settlement also provided a condition that no eviction would be shown on the tenants’ records, as having one makes it more difficult for renters to find affordable housing in the future. However, Morris said the tenants’ chances of finding new housing have already been hurt by the constant media coverage.
“They might not have evictions on their record, but a landlord is going to see that they used to be a 6626 Picasso resident,” Morris said. “Many landlords will turn them away just because of that.”
While the articles and news reports in local media may have placed the tenants in a precarious position, Silva said she appreciates the community support. She said everyone from the Tent City protesters to I.V. ralliers inspired the disheartened tenants, even through the disappointing court ruling.
“I really wanted to make a difference,” Silva said. “It was a good feeling, fighting together. All the families really thank the students and everyone who supported us. It’s not about the money, we need to stop this intimidation.”
Silva said the fight for tenant rights is far from over, as they still have the right to pursue civil suits against Conquest Student Housing. She said civil courts are often more sympathetic to the needs of individuals rather than those of larger businesses.
“I don’t want to see any more families in this situation; it’s horrible,” Silva said. “We’re going to keep going. This is not over, this is just the beginning.”