A Minneapolis woman was saved from eviction—thanks to her neighbors who worked together to help keep her home.
Earlier this year, Linda Taylor, 70, received a two-month notice from her landlord to vacate the house she has lived in for two decades. He warned her that she would be evicted if she didn’t buy the home or leave.
“It felt like the world had been pulled from under me,” she said. “My house means everything to me.”
Linda initially owned the house but sold it when she fell prey to a real estate deal she didn’t understand. She originally bought the property in 2004 but started falling behind on payments. She was then ‘tricked’ into signing the house back over to the previous owner, who allowed her to rent it.
The current landlord purchased the house in 2006 after the previous one was caught in a mortgage fraud scheme. He raised Linda’s rent twice during the pandemic and let repairs and maintenance issues linger.
Her landlord wanted to sell the house with an asking price of $299,000—something Linda couldn’t afford.
Linda, who lives alone in the two-bedroom house, says she couldn’t eat and sleep after her landlord told her to vacate.
She worked at a local non-profit for almost three years before being laid off amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite having no income, Linda continued to pay rent—about $1,400 a month—using her savings, money from family, and government subsidies.
Linda decided to share her predicament with Andrew Fahlstrom, 41, who works professionally as a housing rights organizer. Since moving to the neighborhood six years ago with his partner, he and Linda have developed a strong rapport.
“She has always been the one in the neighborhood who greets everyone,” Andrew said.
He reached out to neighbors to see what they could do to help Linda. Word spread around the block, and many people soon began offering help.
“People listened to what Miss Linda was saying and wanted to do something,” Andrew said. “It was just such a clear and compelling story that everyone rallied for her.”
Linda, who has five children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, has tried several times over the years to ask for help from social services. She also applied for programs and grants for renters who wanted to buy their homes.
“Every time I tried to buy it, I ran into a ton of different walls,” she said.
Linda’s community mobilized on her behalf. Organizers wrote a letter to the landlord, asking him to wait on eviction and start negotiations with Linda so she could purchase the house.
The note was signed by about 400 neighbors and hand-delivered to the landlord in February. It worked, and he allowed Linda to continue renting with an opportunity to buy the home by June 30. He lowered the sale price to $250,000, but it was still out of reach for his tenant.
So, community members organized fundraising efforts, including social media campaigns, a block party, and an art show in which Linda, who loves painting, sold some of her artwork.
In just four months, the community raised $275,000 for Linda, which is enough to buy her home and cover repairs. Any additional funding will go to utility payments.
“I knew my neighbors loved me, but I didn’t know how much,” a grateful Linda said.
After almost 20 years, Linda’s home finally became hers.
“When it’s yours, it gives you a different type of feeling,” she said. “I’m safe, I’m secure, and I have a home.”
With what she has experienced, Linda said she is determined to pay it forward.
“I’m here to help the next person and the next person and the next person,” she said.
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