A 17-year-old high school senior and her family are facing the real possibility of being evicted from their East Boston apartment amid the coronavirus pandemic, like countless families across the commonwealth.
For Kimberly Landaverde, not everything is what it seems.
"Everything is tense at home, it is not a very good environment to be in," the Boston high school senior said. "It makes me feel sad, but I have to remain strong for my family because I have to speak on their behalf."
For Landaverde, the trouble started in May, when her father lost his second job, and had the hours at his first job, working as a custodian in Arlington, slashed. Soon, her mom also lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I have seen my mom cry, and it is not nice thing to view as a daughter, they are your role models but they are also human," she said.
This Boston Latin student says she often cries in her room alone, too.
"I try not to do it in front of them, because they have to already deal with so much stress, my mom already worries so much," she said.
Landaverde says her family has applied to a number of different funds and groups for help, but have not heard back from any of them.
Evictions in Massachusetts Amid Pandemic
They were able to use their security deposit to pay one month's rent, but have since fallen behind. Landaverde and her 16-year-old brother both got jobs to help pay rent.
"We have helped put together money for November's rent, and now December is looming over us, so we don't know what we are going to do now."
At City Life / Vida Urbana, they see and hear the need. Ever since the eviction moratorium was lifted in mid-October, the calls have been flooding in.
"We are seeing just a huge wave of folks needing help here in Massachusetts," Alex Ponte-Cappellan said. "The need is extreme in Mass., there are so many people right now who have lost their job, lost their source of income."
Housing advocates say they have asked state lawmakers for help, but have heard little.
"It doesn't make sense to me, right now, when we need it the most, these protections are not around," Ponte-Cappellan said.
Back in East Boston, Landaverde is juggling her senior year, college applications, her part-time job, and the worry that comes with not knowing how much longer her family will be able to live in their apartment.
"It makes me feel sad, but I have to remain strong for my family because I have to speak on their behalf," she said.