BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Even before the pandemic, affordable housing has been an issue across California. As the state attempts to rebuild, some Californians are finding it even harder to find a place to live including in Kern County.
One local resident, Donna Miller, is being asked to leave her home after 44 years. She said new property owners are raising the rent to something she can’t afford. On top of that Miller has underlying health conditions and said her biggest concern is having no place to go.
“I just don’t want to be homeless. I’m scared of being homeless. I don’t want to be homeless,” said Miller through tears.
Miller has lived in her home in South Bakersfield for over 40 years but after Real Property Management acquired the apartment units in August, she said the new owners are telling her that her time is up.
“They’re doing a termination of tenancy for me. I’ve been here like 44 years and they want to raise the rent and do some remodeling,” said Miller.
23ABC reached out to Real Property Management but has not heard back.
Miller said she’s been a perfect tenant and just wants more time.
“I don’t want an eviction on my record. I’ve been a perfect renter. Never paid a late day's rent. I’m just asking for an extension so I can get a little bit better and a place come through for me, an apartment,” said Miller.
23ABC also confirmed a letter Miller's doctor wrote in October to help appeal the eviction.
It has come to my attention that (Donna Miller) is getting evicted from her apartment soon. In this regard, we would like to respectfully request your kind hearts to extend her stay in her present apartment until she could find another place as being homeless would put her at risk of getting severe wound infections and possible sepsis.
Donna has underlying health conditions including large venous stasis ulcers and Lymphedema ulcers where nurses do home visits to treat her. She also has upcoming surgeries at the end of November and December and would like to recover in her home.
“If my legs were to get an infection, I have the letter right here, I would die. I would lose my legs. The infection would kill me quick,” said Miller.
That’s why she’s been actively looking for a place to live.
"I'm on every waiting list that I can be on, through the Housing Authority and apartments that I've been referred to," said Miller.
She's also contacted CAPK and Aging and Adult Services. While there are some shelters available she said her nurses will not be able to treat her if she's not in a home.
"My nurses can't treat me if I'm living in a car or if I'm living in a homeless shelter. They don't treat like that," said Miller.
Miller just hopes someone gets back to her soon.
“I have hope that any day that my phone’s going to ring and it’s going to be an apartment. That’s all I’m asking is for. A little peace of mind so that I can maybe try to get well too,” said Miller.
More time would take a weight of Miller’s shoulders.
“It would just take so much stress and worry off of me and so much fear off me,” said Miller.
Miller said according to the latest letter on her door last week she has to be out of her apartment by November 19th but her next surgery is scheduled for November 24th. It will help her recovery if she can stay at home for just a little while longer.
And with so many in our community struggling with affordable housing, 23ABC took an in-depth look at the cost of one and two-bedroom apartments in Bakersfield, to see why this is such a concern.
According to the website Zumper, 43 percent of Bakersfield residents are renters.
The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city is $1,050. That number has increased 19 percent from this time last year. And a whopping 69 percent since five years ago in 2016.
The cost of renting two-bedroom apartments is also following a similar trend. Two-bedroom apartments in Bakersfield have an average rent cost of $1,250. That number is up 18 percent since last year and 57 percent from five years ago in 2016.