Lisa Pradia, and her daughter, Iyanni, have fought for years to bring awareness to bullying, but the pair now find themselves in a different fight in the midst of a national crisis they could have never imagined.
They have joined the ranks of countless families negatively impacted by the end of the federal government’s moratorium on rental evictions which expired on July 31. Pradia lost her job in March and took steps to apply for COVID-19 relief funds in response to the nation’s health crisis, however, despite receiving the funds, her landlord refused to take payment forcing her to move from her Richmond-area home. He also filed and was awarded an $11,000 judgment against her despite her efforts to pay.
As Pradia and her daughter packed their belongings and pondered the prospect of homelessness, a concerned friend shared word of her plight, sparking coverage requests from an influx of local and national news outlets including, KTRK,-13, Click2Houston, CBS Evening News, the Washington Post, and Face The Nation, among others.
Pradia knew that their story was only the tip of the iceberg of a looming national crisis threatening to impact millions of renters and homeowners left unemployed due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is bigger than me and Iyanni,” said Lisa Pradia. “So many other families are going to find themselves in the same position and it is going to be a tsunami of evictions if something is not done.”
Following airing of their story, an outpouring of compassion and support has poured in from across the nation and overseas through a GoFundMe campaign set up by a friend who was aware of the challenges they were facing.
“I am grateful beyond words with the outpouring of support we have received from people we don’t know, but who felt empathy for our situation and responded from their hearts,” said Pradia, who has since found a place to live with a family relative.
But Pradia’s hope is for her family’s story to become more than just another news spotlight but brings attention to the need to expand protections for renters and homeowners in the midst of the pandemic, and beyond.
In the meantime, she holds onto her faith and is grateful she and her daughter have a place to live and breathe for a moment until the country returns to some form of normalcy, and God unfolds the next step in their journey.