Rachel Levi Dodia was a tenant of the public housing and now she is active in the fight for public housing. cc: social tv
All my life I provided for myself, but I was recently evicted from my home. How can you work when you have no home? How can I be called a mother if I can not provide my daughter with the security of a home? And where are the equal opportunities?
From time to time we hear on the media about people who were evicted from their public housing homes. In The best case it is mentioned quickly and then forgotten. But what happens later to a person who was evicted? What happens to a person who was evicted from the home where he grew up, the place where all their memories are – a life packed in boxes?
Two months ago I was evicted from the apartment in which I grew up, because after my mother’s death my rights as a daughter who can continue living in the apartment were not recognized. I was thrown on to the street because I have no alternative apartment and my income does not enable me to live. My story is only one of many, and it starts with things people do not think about when a home is something obvious.
Where will I sleep tonight? This is a question I ask my self everyday. This is the reality of a manor woman after eviction. The bag is home, it is always big and contains more than needed, just in case… And the energy it takes to think about tomorrow’s night does not leave much time to think of the future. The reality now is an existing reality.
How can you continue to be called a mother? What about my guilt feelings to my daughter? What will I tell her aboutthe world? My daughter is 24 years old, and in her short life she never had the security that a young girl should have. She grew up in a society which is not able to provide her with a place where she can sleep. And precisely now we are separated so we will not be a burden on people. Each of us wanders alone between friends and family, dividing the burden.
Let us speak on equal opportunities that capitalism likes to raise. The starting point is not a choice. You are born into an existing reality. How can my daughter have an equal or at least possible starting point? Can she, in her situation, learn a profession? What are her chances? Like me, she will have to fight for survival and will not be able to develop another future, to develop herself as an individual in society.
You do not have an address? You will not receive Social Insurance allowance
And even, if I do find work. To go out to work – in this expression we can see the absurd. To go out, from where? In order to go to work we need a place to go out from and to come back to – a place that gives you the strength, the sheltered space and the capability to have a life. This is the place where your clothes, your bags are and it gives you the possibility to have strength for the next day. How can you make a good impression in a job interview when you are asked where you live and you have no answer? Why precisely in this situation can I not get from the Social Security the allowance I am entitled to, as an unemployed person – just because I do not have a permanent address?
And even if I do find work, will I be able to have a home and live in dignity? There is hard work, but someone has to do it. But even with very hard work, I will not be able to rent an apartment and live and I will end up at the same point. Under these conditions now, even if I do have a job it does not assure that I will have a home; wandering is my destiny. Although I was very good at school, I do not have the money and time for academic study. At the age of 47 I find myself starting with nothing.
Society expects that the weakened manor woman will help him/herself. And indeed all my life I worked and even if barely, provided for myself. But, on top of the existing difficulties, the State makes more difficult, and we do not have any conditions and tools to help ourselves, so this demand is mockery. I gave up on the State; I wanted to give up its help and build myself a shed or a tent, a place to put my head during the night and grow vegetables. What is more independent than this? But the State blocked even this possibility – I will be evicted also from there and my poor home will be demolished. In the last year it happened to many “Ein Breiea” encampments. The State forces me to be dependent on it and its exploitative work market.
In the absence of the State’s support, many organizations like Rabbis for Human Rights, Tarabut, and Life in Dignity, try to help not only to survive, but also to fight. The fight is for a society where every man and woman, even if they are wealthy, will know that if, god forbid, they or their children will fall (and it could happen to any one), they will be trapped in a dead end and without any compassion. This is the life insurance of all of us.
Rachel Levi Dodia was a tenant of the public housing and now she is active in the fight for public housing.