How moving BACK 2 Blocks Improved My Overall Mental Health 

It was the dawn of Summer 2019 and I had an unsuspecting little red bump on my bicep.

And then... I had 3. And then, I had 9. AND THEN my roommate had one on her butt.  And so.... I texted my mom. And googled.                                  

Bedbugs! AGH. Okay. That’s manageable, right? We’re in New York, and that happens... It does. What an unfortunate thing, I thought, and then proceeded to strip and bag all my things. 

If you thought it stopped there, so did I at the time. 

But ohh, no. It didn’t.  

"We have to move.” 

I received this text from one of my roommates as I was out catching up with an old friend uptown. A waiter touched down a margarita in front of me: Ahhhhhh summer. I thought. I looked at my friend and said: “My roommates are going crazy, gotta give ‘em a pep-talk when I get home.”  

I arrived home to my roommate in tears. I went to talk to the other one to tell her we could work it out and stay, but then she brought up the HPD Reports on our building.

"150 COMPLAINTS?”  

What? 

“BEDBUGS IN THE ENTIRE BUILDING??” 

“TOP 50 WORST LANDLORDS IN NYC???” 

 OH. So That’s why you want to move. I get it. They’ll come back even if we get the place fumigated. 

 "But we can’t afford to leave right now” I said. “We’re not going to move”. 

 I was wrong again.  

Have you guys ever heard the term slumlord? I feel like I say it every other sentence now. 

Elcorno Martin is a slumlord. Elcorno Martin was my landlord. “Elcorno Martin” is probably not even his real name. But he owns 2 buildings (that I know of) in Prospect Heights that he rents out periodically, even though they are unfit for anyone to live in. 

These were supposed to be or at least started out as, affordable housing. Unfortunately, these properties have become overrun with bedbugs, roaches, and mold. Many of the people living there do not have the resources to effectively advocate for themselves, so they stay. 

A system began wherein the poor living in Martin’s buildings were robbed of their rights. Forced to live in destitute situations. They resided parallel to unknowing renters who would flow in and out paying illegally inflated amounts. We soon learned that he bedbug rider in our lease meant nothing. It was a ploy consensually agreed upon by the company My Space Realty, who showed us our place through Streeteasy.  

After realizing things were ultra sketchy, we got in contact with the girls who lived in our place before us. The first text we got to read: 

"I am so so so sorry they rented that place back out”.  

Through talking a pattern was found, a scheme that cycle lasts about 6 months. After one group of roommates move out, 5-6 months later after the bedbug treatment wears off, they come back. Driving people out and stealing their security deposits along the way. The girls before us lost over $10,000 collectively. We had a little more insight into the way we were about to be scammed. We were waiting to tick each misfortune off as the weeks went on.  It played out exactly as Evy said it would.

We lost $10,000 and scrambled to find a new place to live. I could theorize to my heart’s content about the’ hierarchy of needs’ and how crucial it is to have a home, but nothing could have quite prepared me for the deeply harrowing experience of living without one. 

But we did it. In a rushed, dire fashion we secured a new apartment. Juxtaposed were our reactions to our new home a mere season prior. We were deflated. Apathetic. And Tired. Overwhelmingly so.

Things have been glum, TBH. But we moved into our new apartment last month. With no furniture and weary prospects of getting any, we’re still adjusting. We don’t feel fully safe. We crowdfunded about $500, which helped us during our move. Our goal is to hold Elcorno Martin accountable for his actions, and the many lives he’s screwed up. 

To come back to the title of this piece: moving out this summer HAS been crucial in improving my mental state. In a much different way than addressed in my previous “moving out” article. Both are still real.  My roommate and I are still shaken up by what’s happened. In our new space, we are able to recover. First of all, we have a home. We have shelter and beds and a place to clean ourselves and a place to prepare food. But now we move around knowing how fragile it all is. We are still licking our wounds. In summation: fuck that guy. The landlord who couldn’t have enough. (And still gets away with doing this).  

If you are out there reading this and are either a lawyer or related to one: Please reach out to me. Okay bye.  <3