OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — A single mother, who is a long-haul COVID survivor, was evicted from her apartment despite applying for rental assistance.
Kimberly Boliver became ill with the virus in February and then went back to work. However, COVID got the best of her and she never fully recovered; eventually missing a rent payment.
She told WATE that rental relief from the state never came through.
Not only did she get evicted from her apartment but with no income, she sent her son to live with her ex-husband. She is currently living with her mother, Loni Daniels, in Oliver Springs.
“I got sick the very first week of February, the last of January, the first week of February, I was diagnosed that I had COVID,” Boliver said.
After recovering, she went back to work as a waitress and made it through mid-May.
“I got tired very easily. It was hard to get through the day. And I would have to call in sick fairly often because I had this flu-like illness,” Boliver said.
This would lead to her being fired. She would then apply for unemployment.
“I was denied. For two reasons. One, for my inability to be ready, willing, and be able to look for work. Also, for not completing weekly job searches,” Boliver said.
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency offers rental assistance for those diagnosed with COVID. A federal program also contributes.
“This is May 18 and this is the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program acknowledging that I submitted an application. There was a long waiting period for the landlord to reply and fill out a landlord section. They were not interested in doing that. But that process for allowing them time to decide was 90 days, which is 3 months,” Boliver said.
In June, Kimberly missed her $855 payment. A clause in her rental contract with Four Leaf Property Management said “tenant waives all requirements for written notice of demand for nonpayment of rent.”
She was then summoned to appear in court.
“I had a legal aid attorney. At that point, a judgment was entered against me for non-payment of rent and was ordered to vacate the property within 10 days,” Boliver said.
About the time she was kicked out, she received a message from THDA saying her landlord chose not to participate in the rental relief program.
“If the landlord would have participated, this all could have been avoided,” Boliver said.
Boliver’s doctor writes that her medical condition is termed Long COVID. Due to the diagnosis, in August, Kimberly wrote to U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn about the possibility of qualifying for Social Security Disability. Recently, a call came from one of the senator’s aides.
“She was going to review my case. That her job when someone notified her of a special circumstance, her job was to review and make sure no one fell through the cracks and if there are errors in the program it is her job to find them and fix them. And, she wants to be able to send my case to the front of the line,” Boliver said.
A few days ago, a letter from the Department of Human Services stated that her claim for disability benefits is being processed.
“So this response gave me hope,” Boliver said.
If you are behind on rent or utilities due to COVID-19, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Program serves needy families in the state. Through the end of this year, the program will pay up to 18 months in past due rent and utilities or the loss of up to 18 months in future rent and utilities.
Families must have experienced a loss of income due to the pandemic and payments go directly to the landlord or utility company. However, as Boliver experienced the rules say to be eligible, the landlord must also participate.
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