1/29/2021 8:08:00 AM City dweller
desperate to move to the suburbs
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been trying to move out of my city all year to avoid the coronavirus. I have heart problems and have been locked away in my home for nearly 12 months. I have been truly scared to leave my home for fear of getting sick. I have been following the market to find a new place to rent in the suburbs or rural areas with more space. But the vetting process for rentals is cutthroat and happens quickly. By the time I get a realtor to return my email or call to an ad for a home, they have selected an applicant already. I've glued myself to rental apps trying to get notifications as soon as they post to just have a chance at being the first to apply, but I keep striking out. Any advice for how I can quickly and safely move out of the city? Do you fear for city residents, or am I overreacting? -- Move Me
DEAR MOVE ME: It may be time to expand your search. Consider looking in neighborhoods that are not popular or are off the beaten track. Look in more rural areas than suburban neighborhoods. Look in places that do not have public transportation. You will likely need to have a car in order to expand far enough out to find the right place for you, but do not give up.
While you are in your big city, remain vigilant. When you go outside, always wear your mask and keep your distance. I now double-mask, just to be extra cautious. My doctor suggested that I do my daily walk in the park early in the morning when fewer people are outside. Figure out ways to stay away from people as you try to get outside a bit while you remain in the city.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I are pregnant with our first child and ready to get married. My boyfriend has had trouble with the law growing up and has a record that affects his ability to get a job and to be approved for housing. Most of the time I have to apply for a home on my own and leave him off of the application, but when the landlord finds out that my boyfriend will be living there, they require that he be screened to get on the lease. When they find out his background, we are back to square one.
I am hopeful that we will figure things out, but the stress and rejection are taking a toll on him. Now he's telling me that he can't be a father because no one is going to give him a fair chance to take care of his child. I can tell he's losing faith, and I don't know what else I can say to encourage him. How do I help him? -- Give Him Strength
DEAR GIVE HIM STRENGTH: You two need a strategy. Your boyfriend should look for programs that welcome ex-cons. One excellent program I know of trains formerly incarcerated people to be fitness trainers. They have been very successful. Check out asecondufoundation.org. Here is more information on programs for ex-felons by state: helpforfelons.org/reentry-programs-ex-offenders-state.
You may need to be on the rental lease solo for now so that you can secure a home. In time, your boyfriend may be able to co-sign with you. Stay positive. There are jobs out there for people trying to start over. Your boyfriend cannot give up hope. Your family is growing. You have to stay positive and actively on the search for your future..