Clara Nichols: Her Story Can Be Your Story
One of the enigmas of human nature is that it can be unkind, and it can be compassionate – like the Yin and Yang of Chinese philosophy and religion. Both can weave a story that may apply to any one of us.
Like the story of Clara Nichols, 87 yrs old.
This is her story…
In her younger days, Clara moved around so much. Finally, she decided to settle down for good. What caught her attention was an apartment on Northwest 185th Avenue in Beaverton, Portland, Oregon.
And there she lived for 27 years.
One day, from out of the blue, she received a notice that her rent is going to increase by 62%.
For Clara, that was like being hit by a sledgehammer directly on the chest and a wrecker’s ball on the head.
The notice left her devastated. There was no way she can afford the increase from her Social Security pension.
‘’It felt like home until they came in and now it’s all gone,” Nichols said. “It doesn’t feel like home no more.”
Clara, like most people her age, does not only have money problems but health issues as well. She knows that she doesn’t have much time to live and moving to another place will hasten her demise. She says, mournfully, “I am literally helpless.”
The Strange Ways of Heaven:
Heaven must have seen the plight of Clara and had her story be aired on KATU.com, a Portland-based radio station.
That caught the attention of community members who started thinking how they can help the hapless woman.
Foremost of them were Beth Olson and her friend, Laura Shea. Together they set up an account which they called GoFundMe.com to raise funds so Clara can stay in her apartment until she can move to another place.
The community’s concern moved Clara to tears of joy. She said, “I can’t believe it, it feels too much like a fairy tale.“
“It makes me feel like I want to sit down and cry,” she said. “Because there are people out there that can do this kind of things for others. That’s really neat. I wish I could be in that position to do it,” she added with a smile.
The outpouring of support is certainly worth dancing with joy about. From a target of $ 8,000.00, GoFundMe.com was able to raise $ 17,440.00 – more than enough to cover her expected rental of $ 1,250.00/mo until she can find another place to move to.
Will You be the next Clara?
It is not impossible for you the face the fear Clara faced.
As of last year, 8% of people in the U.S. aged 65+ live in apartments. And at the rate of urbanization going on and increasing apartment rentals, it is possible that some of them will be like Clara someday.
For example, last year in Westwood, Los Angeles, residents, of a senior apartment complex, some in their 90s and 100s, received eviction notices from the new owner who plans to convert it into an assisted-living facility.
Things are not very rosy among seniors living in apartments. And they don’t have anywhere to turn to but themselves, and probably people like Beth Olson and Laura Shea
But even if there are a hundred of people like Beth and Laura, the fear of losing their homes looms large and real for seniors living in apartment buildings which could give away to urban development anytime.
The sad part is that they have nowhere to go, nobody to help them face their fears head-on.
Please share so other seniors will be prepared for any eventuality.