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St. Louis woman after eviction: 'I have no idea' what to do

The knock on the door that Kristen Bigogno has long dreaded finally arrived Friday — two St. Louis deputies came to evict her, joined by a couple of other men there to change the locks on the apartment

9/18/2021 1:05:00 PM

The knock on the door that Kristen Bigogno has long dreaded finally arrived Friday — two St. Louis deputies came to evict her, joined by a couple of other men there to change the locks on the apartment.

The knock on the door that Kristen Bigogno has long dreaded finally arrived Friday — two St. Louis deputies came to evict her, joined by a couple of other men there to change the locks on the apartment

The eviction was months in the making, yet it felt sudden to Bigogno. The judgment against her was last winter, but thanks to a national moratorium, she got a reprieve that ended with a Supreme Court ruling last month.She received her final notice on Tuesday. When two deputies pulled up around noon on Friday, she knew it was over.

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Now, Bigogno, 39, doesn't know where she and her sons, ages 16 and 17, will live.“I have no idea,” she said. “Pray to God something happens. I don’t know what else to say or do.”She's especially worried about her two cats and a dog, which will probably end up in a shelter. “Do you want my pets?” she asked a reporter.

The U.S. Supreme Courtlast month blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban of evictions, essentially ending a months-long moratorium imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The freeze was meant to provide relief for tenants unable to keep up with their rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, and to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by people put out on the streets and into shelters.

Bigogno started noticingneighbors leaving last year. She said the company that owns the three-story, six-unit building and two neighboring complexes in south St. Louis began evicting tenants with plans to rehab the buildings and rent them at higher prices.

She was notified in February that she would be evicted. With the help of an advocacy group lawyer, she was able to convince a judge that her case was covered by the CDC moratorium, and she was allowed to stay.But no longer.After the deputies entered Bigogno's apartment, she began carrying a few things — clothes, appliances, bedding — out through a back door and putting them in her car and a friend's pickup truck.

Within a half-hour, the new locks were in place. The apartment was no longer hers.St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts, whose agency is responsible for facilitating evictions, said the pace of removals hasn’t been as bad as he expected. He figures that some people, aware the moratorium was ending, made arrangements before being forced out.

But Betts said too many, like Bigogno, wait until it's too late. Once the court orders an eviction, he said, he has no choice in the matter.“We’ve tried to be compassionate, empathetic, but once we get to that D-Day, I myself have to follow that court order or I will be in contempt of that court order,” Betts said.

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Kennard Williams of Action St. Louis, a not-for-profit that works with people facing eviction, disagreed with Betts' assessment of the climate for renters. Williams said his office has been flooded with calls from desperate tenants.“It's brutal out there, man,” Williams said.

Williams is still working on behalf of Bigogno “to keep a roof over her head.” She's now on a waiting list for subsidized housing. A church has offered to pay her first month's rent if she can find a place to live, and she started aGoFundMe account.

For now, she and the boys may sleep in their car.The problem, Bigogno said, is that all that time in court fighting the eviction cost her her job, and she hasn't found new work. Landlords won't rent to her because she's unemployed, she said.

As a man was finishing up replacing the lock on what used to be her backdoor, Bigogno approached him. Rather than express any anger, she apologized “for the whole situation.”The man seemed perplexed, then shrugged. Read more: ABC News »

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I’m sure some bleeding heart will set up a gofundme and bail her out of her bad decisions There for the grace of God go I. This is why you teach your kids from an early age to work hard, make good choices, and EARN the lifestyle you want to have. A person should only TEMPORARILY rely on government to get through tough times, not have the gov BE your lifestyle.

I know liberal Democrats are having a hard time knowing what to do next, so here’s some advice. Get a job, there are plenty available with higher pay. Start paying rent. Her two children can find part time jobs to help mom. Sad part the children will turn out the same way. Always remember a place to rest your head and then all other things. PAY YOUR RENT FIRST.

So she ignored that this was eventually going to happen? Didn’t reach out to any of the Govt. or private organizations that help? Where is the father for those children? Oh he only shows up when and if the children turn out well right and try to take credit for them. I would kick him down a flight of stairs. Am sick of stupid women who allow men to rule them and or give them children.

In court fighting the eviction cost her job LOL and she has two sons who can work after school.. this is a classic case of laziness and taking advantage of the system.. not one word in this story about the owner of the building having to pay taxes and utilities for this deadbeat Wish we had laws like this in NYC. What the hell did she do with the money she got from the government all those months My mom was a single mom and the first thing she made sure of was the rent was paid. Rent first food second and so on. Where is the daddy for those children?

You had 18 months to plan for this, or continue to pay your fucking rent! Jobs are everywhere, kids are old enough to help. You can't support yourself, you can't afford pets! Sorry for the harsh lesson, but you brought it on yourself. Get a job? I hear amazon in hiring

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She can move down to Florida. She’s had a long time to prepare for this. Everyone is hiring. I mean everyone. Most over $15. So if her kids work and she works they can make close to $45 an hour for 40 hrs a week. Cost of living is cheap here. There’s an option. NO PAY NO WAY!! How about get a job? I have worked in social work, I have gone above and beyond and there are takers and givers. I would think there is far more to this story and her luck ran out. Her kids are 16 and 17, all working age. I wish them luck.

Did this story leave a huge chunk of info out? Reading the article makes one believe the eviction was deserved and that 3 people should have had jobs but didn’t. Get a job to pay your rent like most Americans do! Go to work! Every one was given notice to leave the complex and they did except her she created her Job issue instead of finding housing in time allotted she tried to stay knowing they cancelled residency in building. This is the classic making an excuse to absolve self from responsibility.

She only had 18 months to prepare. We are supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world. Also one of the least compassionate.

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