When the manager of Liberty Arms, a senior center in Wauconda, raised the monthly cost of living fees, Carmen, at age 71, became homeless. Besides the constant search for a job, every day is different for Carmen. While money was Carmen’s main barrier in finding a place to live, she firmly believes that money isn’t the most important thing in the world and should not influence decisions.
“I was living at Liberty Arms in Wauconda for 10 years. So this manager took over managing the building and one day she told me I had to pay $800 a month. My income was only $900 at the time. I told her I couldn’t pay the $800. So she took me to court and I told the judge, well, I’ll be out at the end of the month, and that’s how I became homeless. Because of this woman (manager) … she was mean — she didn’t care. I don’t like people that think money is important. She knew how much I was getting a month, and she got me cut off… I don’t care what she does to me, but elderly people older than me? I couldn’t see it… I went to the Salvation Army and they helped me. They gave me money for rent, to deposit, for food, for clothes, anything. And I didn’t even have to pay them back. There was an elderly women I got to know in Chicago too, and she helped me. And when I got my apartment, I went back to pay this woman and she asked me what I was doing. I told her I was helping people and she said that I had already paid her back by helping people.”