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A Single Mother's Testimony

To whom it may concern,

Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the meeting today because I have 5 children and I am a single parent.

Let me start by telling you a little on the issues at hand on my property. I have been here for a little over 10 years and have had problems with the city since I moved in. Why? Because the city told me that the records on this house were 30 years old and the records stay with the house not the person.

So with that in mind I purchased a problem house. Not was I told that in the truth in housing? NO! I did not know that having a house would be such a problem. I thought that it was a good place to settle down and have my family grow. Well, I had so many issues with the house that it put a strain on my marriage and I was afraid to let my children play outside.

In the beginning I owned some vehicles that were in my driveway. The city said I could not keep them there so I put them on a cement slab behind the garage where they told me they could go. After that, the kinds from the property behind us broke out the window. Then the city said it was a danger for them to be back there.

The next issue was the front stairs. i was told there were not stable and safe for children. They were the same stairs that were there the day I bought the house. i was told that i had to take them down, so I complied. I was then told that I had to put up new stairs because the drop from the house to the ground was too low.

Complaints continued - too many toys in the yard. As I stated before, I have five children. The neighbor has six. My yard was the playground for them all. I was told that I could not keep my swing set up if I didn’t keep swings on it. I would have to put them away because if I didn’t, they would be gone in the morning.

It seemed that no matter what I did the city was not happy. When they came out to re-inspect, they would find something else.

I couldn’t keep the desk in the yard that I used to keep toys up. i had to block off the back stairs. I had a pile of dog feces on the ground and not enough grass in the yard. The house needed to be painted. The garage had gang writing on it that needed to be off. The fascia on the house and garage needed to be fixed and painted. The foundation was cracking. The wall was falling. The grass was too long. We had to have screens and/or storm windows on the house. A window was cracked. The storm door was missing the screen and so it needed to be removed. The list went on and on.

The garage doors needed to be replaced twice because the neighbor kids threw balls against it and they broke several times. My garage faces the alley which is also the neighbors’ back door. We have an easement agreement but are unable to use our garage because of the neighbors and children.

At one point we were going to remove the siding and put on a new one, but once we started taking off the siding the city told us that, because this is a historic neighborhood, we could only paint the house and not reside in it.
The city got a report that I had a dead dog in the house and no water and lights. They said that they had to come in and inspect. I complied. I let them in. They found no such issues; but because I was in the middle of a house project, my house was a mess that day. The next day, I had child services out checking on the welfare of my children.

I am so fed up with the city of St. Paul that I am considering leaving. I no longer call this house my home. I feel that the city has taken my property and raped me for all that I have.

I lost my marriage. I lost what i wanted to make a lifetime home for my family. I wanted to keep my children in one place throughout their schooling. The city is forcing me to make the decision to move out to the country where there are very few neighbors.

I have neighbors who have rats and garbage piled in the garage, and vehicles parked all over the place. They don’t get bothered. WHY?

Because they don’t have a 30 year record on their house, and I do. That makes everything my problem. Also, I was told by the city that “once a problem house, always a problem house.” I worked hard for what I got and now I work even harder to try to keep the city happy.

Not only did I lose my husband over this but I lost my job because my employer told me I had too many personal issues going on to keep me there.

Hopefully something can be done to leave people alone.

Thank you for your time to hear our complaints,

Theresa Lund

 

Note: Theresa Lund, her children in tow, read this statement at the Property Owners' rally in front of St. Paul City Hall on August 17, 2005)

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