Leslie Nelson of Tennessee was evicted from her home even though she was positive for COVID-19 and still suffering symptoms from the virus. She had been hospitalized in June. Now a GoFundMe has been set up to help her with legal costs and she’s vowed to use whatever money she doesn’t need to help others who are facing the same situation as her.
Here’s what you need to know.
She Was Evicted After She Had Been Hospitalized for COVID-19
Nelson, 56, was evicted on Thursday from her Raleigh, Tennessee home, Commercial Appeal reported. She was recovering from being hospitalized with COVID-19, was still on oxygen, and was struggling with symptoms while she sat in her front yard during the eviction. Eviction hearings had started up again in Shelby County in mid-June.
Nelson had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 11 and had to go to the Methodist North hospital because her symptoms had gotten so severe and she couldn’t breathe, Commercial Appeal reported. A few weeks ago she was released and could go back home, but she said the stress from the process server’s arrival made her start feeling sicker again. WREG reported that Nelson said the process server took an antique rifle from her house and swung it around in front of a police officer when she tried to get it back.
In the video above, which Nelson shared on Facebook, she told officials that she was considered an active case who was still infectious, one of the “long haulers” who takes longer to recover from COVID.
When the eviction first started, she shared pleas on Facebook for help on August 6.
She shared a photo of her belongings outside her home.
Ten people showed up after she posted on Facebook about needing help after she was evicted from her home on 3300 Joslyn Street. Memphis police were seen at her home and they told local media that they were there to keep the peace, Commercial Appeal reported.
Nelson said the house — which had belonged to her partner’s mother — had been left to her and her partner, Commercial Appeal reported. However, medical debt from her partner’s mother was attached to the home, forcing her eviction. Her mother-in-law owed thousands in medical debt that Nelson didn’t know about, WREG reported. Because the property still technically belonged to her mother, things were being worked out in probate.
Nelson said she offered to pay the debt, but she wasn’t given an opportunity to do so.
Hunter Demster, an activist who helped Nelson, told WREG: “Collecting debt from a deceased person is more important than putting an elderly woman who is recovering from COVID out on the streets, and that’s what they’re saying. That’s what they did!”
On August 8, Nelson shared that she was still trying to get oxygen and other medications that were in the house, but she wasn’t allowed to go back inside and retrieve them.
A GoFundMe Has Raised More than $13,000 To Help Nelson
A GoFundMe has raised more than $13,500 to help Nelson as she deals with the fallout from her eviction. Nelson wrote in a recent update:
Again I want to express my gratitude. Again I want to express my gratitude.
I am indeed out of the hospital. I’m still having epileptic seizures. The severity & amount have lessened. I’m safe & in a hotel. Looking for a new home. If I don’t find something by the end of the week I’ll be staying with a friend, till I do. Yesterday was the first meeting for a new coalition. We want to figure out the best way to help others facing evictions. More on that later. Again thank you for your generosity, your prayers, & for caring. God bless.
Nelson ended up back in the hospital after her eviction, she shared on Facebook. She was later released and shared on Facebook that she was feeling better, but still had a lot to work through and had found temporary housing.
She expressed concern for people who don’t have the support that she has.
She wrote: “What happened to me yesterday is the start of a movement. I have support. What about those poor souls that don’t? Mostly people of color, people in the lower income bracket are going to be targeted & ￼evicted. ￼￼These politicians think the suicide rate and drug be his rate is up now just wait. Any money that have been donated to me that I don’t use towards my current situation Will be donated to a fund to help people with lawyer fees & rent money!”