Rochester Tax-Subsidized Peon Camps
Hey, I know landlords are supposed to be horrible people, just the scum of the earth. Paying rent sucks, doesn't it?
I'm a landlord, and I collect rent. When rent is late, I collect late fees. Business is business. I've been at it long enough, I know what a good tenant looks like, and I know when a tenant needs a break and when a tenant is a scammer.
If you're a landlord like me in Rochester, chances are you won't rent to Department of Social Services clients, because many of them tend to be scammers, their rent payments tend to get cut off with little or no notice and then a lot of them can't pay and need to be evicted. The building just 2 blocks from mine has a big banner advertising apartments for rent on it that announces in letters half the size of my body, "NO DSS."
But before you pass judgment on all DSS tenants, please read this story: A young African American woman of about 21 moved into my building with her daughter. It's her first apartment. She was willing to pay a security deposit without having an argument about it. Unlike 30 other applicants I had interviewed for the apartment, her application was filled out completely and everything checked out. When I called her DSS caseworker, I was informed that the young woman could not get her own apartment for $600 because "we just found out she has a JOB!!!!" Instead, they were going to keep her at the shelter for $1,300 a month, all paid for by my property taxes.
I have to say I was shocked. "Yes, of course she has a job." She was open about it on her application. It was a minimum wage job. I don't know how a single parent can raise a toddler working minimum wage. I asked the case worker if her parents threw her in the street when she got HER first minimum wage job. DSS agreed to pay her rent. Four months later, I was notified that the amount they would be sending for her rent payment was being decreased by $127 per month. I called my tenant to find out what was going on, and she told me it was because of the RG&E bill and she was about to get her power shut off. What she told me next completely shocked me.
Department of Social Services wants to move her back into the same shelter for the next 5 months. Instead of paying both her rent and her RG&E bill so she can have a decent apartment while she gets through this difficult time in her life, DSS wants to keep this young black female transient while paying twice the cost of her living expense if she simply kept her own apartment. She told me they have a special room at the shelter set up for her and her daughter. I asked her what would happen to her personal belongings, furniture and other things she wouldn't be able to store. She said her mother would keep them for her. After I had spoken to her for awhile, she told me DSS was doing the same thing to her mother.
One of the rights we are supposed to have as American citizens is the right to own property. This young African American woman was born here and she is being treated by DSS as though she is a migrant worker, and so is her mother. She is upset about the way she is being treated, and she needs someone to speak up on her behalf. I am angry at the Welfare abuse I see going on as well. How can I operate my legitimate business when Welfare is supporting this shelter at my expense? Why can't people just have their own apartments and be treated like human beings? What is wrong with this city that this situation is allowed to continue?
Please somebody! Respond to my article and tell me who I can call to report this horrible abuse by the Department of Social Services. I think I now see why people who are down on their luck stay down, and I certainly can't subsidize city shelters to put me and other city landlords out of business.