"America has changed my life, but right now it’s hard. it’s very scary."
Chaltu immigrated from Ethiopia in 2005. His rent has increased by 85%, he struggles financially, unable to find affordable housing in the area.
I moved from Ethiopia to Portland about 12 years ago, and I’ve lived in my current apartment for 5 years. I’ve had a few increases in rent over that time, but the largest was $50. As a care provider, I work hard for what I have and have pride in my life here.
In December, I received news that has turned my world upside down. My landlord raised my rent by 85%, from $565 to $1,050. Now, over 50% of my money now goes towards rent. I am trying to find a second job, but it’s hard to find one that works with the hours and work I currently do.
I can’t cut things either. I have to have a car and pay insurance for work, I have to eat and pay my bills to survive. There is nothing I can cut to try and make ends meet. And I can’t go to school to try and get a better job, because who’s going to pay my rent?
I’m trying to find a new apartment, but it’s really stressful. They’re all $1000, and if I move too far away, I can’t do my job.
At this point, all I can think of doing is going to get a storage unit and live in my car. In Africa, we were poor, but we still had a house. Here I can’t do anything.
America has changed my life, but right now it’s hard. It’s very scary.