Things That Matter

This Heartbreaking Story About A Latino Dad And His Family Being Booted From Their Home Amid The Covid-19 Eviction Crisis Will Make You Tear Up For An Unexpected Reason

The United States is currently facing yet another pandemic related crisis that new research says could put 30-40 million Americans out of their homes by the end of the year.

The Covid-19 eviction crisis has already seen millions of people booted from their homes no thanks to a lack of federal intervention. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, twenty-nine to forty-three percent of renters could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

Israel Rodriguez is just one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have not been able to pay their rent because of the current pandemic and thus evicted from their homes.

Last week, his eviction story went viral and tugged at the heartstrings of thousands who watched.

Rodriguez’s eviction story saw him and his young family kicked out of their home and on the streets.

CNN featured Rodriguez in a video interview last week that saw him, his wife, and two boys (one is 4-years-old and the other just 20-months old) evicted from their home in the Houston, Texas area.

“It’s my fault on the eviction. It was a lot going on there in the corona. When it hit, I lost my job,” Rodriguez told CNN while he was being evicted from his home. “It took me like a month to get another job. This is my check. I haven’t been, I ain’t making it with $300. It is literally $300.”

“We ain’t got nowhere to go,” Rodriguez added. “They didn’t rush us, but they was like, ‘Get everything you need.'”

Soon after his eviction, officers in the precinct area set up a GoFundMe account in his name. Already it has raised $67,853 out of its $12,000 goal.

“I’m not the only one struggling,” Rodriguez stated in a news conference set up by Harris County Precinct 1’s Constable Alan Rosen. “But it’s the best thing to ever happen to me, to make a better change in life.”

Since originally being featured in a story by CNN, Rodriguez says that his family has received financial support from all over the world. He says that the help comes in a large part thanks to the constable whose office was given a court order to serve the eviction papers.

“I’m learning to be a better person,” Rodriguez told CNN about how the situation has humbled and changed him.

According to CNN, Rodriguez and his family are currently living in a hotel and are “working to obtain more permanent housing, with support from Rosen’s agency and other groups. Rodriguez also said he’s gotten job offers, vowing to get to work once he finds his new home.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control announced eviction bans.

The move was not effective in time to help Rodriguez and others like him from being kicked out of their homes. Current eviction bans allow residents to avoid being removed from their homes for not paying rent if they are able to prove that their inability to do so is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rental assistance, I want Houstonians and people in Harris County to know, is still available. There is no longer a deadline to apply. We have decided we will leave the enrollment open. It will remain open until all funds have been expended,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston’s COVID-19 rental assistance program last week.

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

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Racists Threatened To Call ICE On This Mexican Restaurant After They Kept Their Mask Rule

Felix Aguilar / Getty Images

Several states across the country (mostly governed by Republican leaders) have decided to repeal their mask mandates despite their own health officials urging against such moves.

Yes, the vaccine roll out has improved under the Biden administration – with nearly 2 million people getting vaccinated each day – but that is still not enough for the United States to reach herd immunity over night.

Now, thanks to these irresponsible moves by Republican governors, Americans are left to fend for themselves against anti-makers. In fact, a Mexican restaurant in Texas that decided to keep its mask mandate for diners is now facing racist attacks with people threatening to call ICE on its workers.

Texas Mexican restaurant is facing a backlash for sticking to its mask rules.

Houston’s Picos Restaurant, a small family-owned Mexican restaurant, is facing racist threatening comments after deciding to prioritize public health amid an ongoing pandemic. Several people sent hateful messages through social media and called the restaurant, threatening to report staffers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“It was just horrific,” co-owner Monica Richards told the Washington Post. “People don’t understand unless you’re in our business what it felt like, how hard it was to go through everything we went through during covid. For people to be negative toward us for trying to remain safe, so that this doesn’t continue to happen, just makes zero sense to us.”

Picos decided to maintain their mask mandate as the governor lifted the state-wide one.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) rescind the statewide mask mandate despite the fact that a vast majority of his state’s residents remain vulnerable to COVID-19. The governor has ignored the advice of his own public health officials who say the state should wait on lifting these mandates until their is a greater incidence of vaccination in communities.

With Abbotts order, Texas will become the largest state in the nation to no longer require masks, which has not come easily for many businesses that are navigating enforcement mask rules to protect employees and customers while facing backlash.

Experts agree that masks are among the most effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19, but they’ve also become a partisan symbol. Masks have become so symbolic that one conservative group is set to hold a mask burning party the day the order is lifted, according to the Washington Post.

Picos hasn’t been the only restaurant facing such a backlash.

In fact, another Mexican restaurant in Houston, Cantina Bar, has been the victim of similar threatening messages, while several staff have been intimidated by screaming customers who refuse to wear masks even while it was required by a state order. Another Houston Mexican restaurant, Cantina Barba, received similar intimidating messages, and staff have been bullied by some screaming customers who refused to wear masks while it was required statewide, co-owner Steven O’Sullivan said.

“This has been ongoing through covid,” co-owner Steven O’Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve had threats of calling ICE. I had one guy just stand there and berate one of my bartenders and tell her ‘you’re an absolute idiot, you don’t know what you’re doing. If you think these masks are going to save your life, you’re stupid’ blah, blah, blah. Nobody wants to deal with that stuff.”

Another employee at a separate restaurant had to get stitches after he was hit in the head with a glass by a maskless customer he approached, Houston Police said. Hopefully, the governor will still encourage his constituents to do what’s right and continue to wear masks when asked to do.

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People Are Talking About The Secretly Great Aspects Of Quarantine Life And Yeah, It’s Not All Bad

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People Are Talking About The Secretly Great Aspects Of Quarantine Life And Yeah, It’s Not All Bad

NurPhoto / Getty

No doubt the current quarantine has been desperately tragic at times. Still, many are choosing to find the bright and positive aspects of life in seclusion. From picking up new hobbies to finding time to save money and work on home projects, Reddit users are finding the bright side of these current times.

Check them out below!

“Save money on gas.”- jmo_joker

“Not to mention wasting time just sitting in a traffic jam to get to a desk that I also happen to have in the office at home…”-coffecup1978

“I’ve been WFH since last march and I must have saved about £2k in fuel.”-throwRAffff

“I got to spend a lot more time with aging pets. I had to put down a cat this fall but for seven months he got to lay on my keyboard and interrupt zoom calls all day. I also have a 12 year old lab and spending this year with her all day every day has been awesome.”-Santos_L_Halper_II

“A lot of restaraunts have really upped their online ordering and drive through game. Like a well oiled machine.”- Wilhelm_Amenbreak

“And some shockingly haven’t. I got take out from one of my favorite restaurants the other day, and it took so long to order on the phone, that next time I’m just going to go down there and place an order in person. I had to speak to three different people to accomplish it – being put on hold each time – and give my credit card over the phone. And before you ask, yes, they advertise take out on their website and menu, so it isn’t as if it’s a service they don’t normally provide.”- Amelaclya1

“I got 6 to 8 hours a week back in commuting time. That’s, like, about a whole extra work day every week that’s mine to do with as I please. It’s been incredible. And I hadn’t realized how stressed my commute makes me. I don’t have to be careful not to forget anything before I leave for work (or when I’m leaving the office at the end of the day), I don’t have to pack lunch, I don’t have to make sure I’m dressed for the weather both now and in 8 hours when I’m coming home. I don’t have to get wet when I get that wrong, and I don’t have to spend a day at work with my shoes and socks wet, or all of me wet. I don’t have to wait at a bus stop for forty minutes waiting for a bus that should have been here thirty minutes ago.” –S_thyrsoidea

“No Commute =

  • Well no commute
    • No commute people
    • No delayed trains
    • No weather … less health issues (even just less colds) from constant changing temps
  • Time
    • Morning – 2 hours extra sleep and not having to get ready
    • Day – generally chores, laundry, cleaning, dishes get done on work down time. So this frees time on the weekends
    • Afternoon – 1.5 hours of me time.
  • Money
    • Communing total costs for my household (just for work) was around $500 a month. The added cost of heating / cooling, electricity, etc from being home is nowhere near that.
    • Food – I can cook all my own food
    • Dont need to replace going to work stuff. (clothes, shoes, beauty products, etc)
  • Health
    • I can workout more regularly, get sleep, eat better.

Also getting stuck at work by 5 minutes, no longer means getting a train 30 minutes later …. it actually means 5 minutes.”- 424f42_424f42

“Yeeeeep…

I’m not only saving close to 4h a day by not having to commute, but also the costs of public transportation and overpriced lunch near the office. In practice, it’s like having my shifts reduced by 20% and getting a pay raise at the same time” –SchrodingerSemicolon

“I am a recovering alcoholic. Spending most of my time at home exploring my hobby’s, attending virtual counseling, and rebuilding relationships with my loved ones has helped me to realize that no substance has ever given me so much contentment, and I honestly never want to give up what I have now. In 4 weeks, I will be celebrating my 2 year sobriety anniversary. The grass (underneath the foot of snow) has never seemed greener!”- artgirl483

“Corollary: Not needing to act like you want to talk to anyone while you wait for the coffee machine in the morning. And the overall unhealthy coffee culture offices breed, in general.”- dontFart_InSpaceSuit

“No office politics and mindless gossip.”-backdoorsmasher

“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, my dad would be dead right now.

He likes to come over to our place while I’m at work and spend time with my dogs. My papillon got away from him and wanted to play chase in our garage, which is basically a storage unit right now, and she was bobbing and weaving through boxes. When he caught her and took her inside, he noticed he was having a hard time catching his breath.

My brother, who lives with me, offered to let him use his new oxygen meter, which he bought after he developed some temporary sleep apnea after he had covid. The meter was frighteningly low, so he told our dad to go to the walk-in clinic. They told him as soon as he explained his oxygen level that he needed to go to the ER.

He tests negative for covid at the ER, but they found MULTIPLE blood clots in his lungs. They kept him a few days in the hospital, and he made a complete recovery with no permanent damage.

I know my dad very well. Under normal circumstances, he would have gone home, tried to relax, gone to bed that night, and possibly never woken up the next morning. But covid has us all on high alert, especially when it comes to breathing troubles. I NEVER thought I’d be thankful for it

Also after he got out of the hospital, he gave said papillon an extra special doggy treat for, “saving his life.”- faerytheft

“Similarly, if not for remote doctors and virtual visits, I would have let a potentially bad infection fester. I was too embarrassed for years to see a practitioner in person, and while the infection was very recent, I was dreading an appointment. And then, like angels heralding on high, I got an email from my insurance about scheduling remote consultations. I’ve now talked to more doctors this year on my own than ever before, and even made some progress with a therapist.” –cavepainted

“Playing board games with my teenaged kids. We got away from it as they got older. I still kick ass on Scrabble, but they smoke me on Backgammon. Ticket to Ride is a blast. Yahtzee too.

Edit: Well this certainly resonated with the community. To answer a few questions: We don’t play every night. A couple of times a week is where we’re at now. We have more modern games, but Backgammon and Yahtzee- especially Yahtzee- is the one they like to play the most. Monopoly, when played without ‘house rules’ is fun. It probably won’t last when things go back to normal, so I’m loving it while it lasts. Thanks for the awards!”-2leewhohot

“I have two teens (and a spouse). We really enjoy Spoons and Bullshit. Easy, fast paced card games. We also play blackjack as a family. We have a whole set of cards and chips. We keep a running tally of our chips on paper. My husband gets so mad because our daughter plays her gut and he plays by the “rules” and she is like a fake billionaire now and he’s always panhandling for fake money to get him back in the game. It’s a riot. Our son is always the dealer, our “casino” is named after him and it’s a good exercise in social skills and self control.” –dualsplit 

“Cleaner beaches and ocean in Hawaii as millions of tourists stayed home. Of course the economy went to sh*t, but the Aloha ‘Āina prospered.”- QuackedUp99

“I’ve been asking, no, begging for WFH for 2 years prior, filling in medical reasons, etc. My boss agreed. HR & management basically ignored me. Like, dream on, never gonna happen.

Then Covid came and now all of a sudeen everyone can work from home.

They still send regular “covid emails” thanking us for our incredible adaptability in these difficult times, and they hope we will soon be able to return to “normal”.

Screw your normal…”chicken farm” blue light high strung open office microwawed lunch rush hour commute normal.

Why would anyone hope they can return to that sh**?! Do people really have it that bad at home?”-unikatniusername

“Yeah this past year has probably been the healthiest I’ve ever been. Haven’t ever had anything more than a minor headache, and that’s usually just due to dehydration or something mundane.”- SpicymeLLoN

“I went 2020 without a cold, where I’d definitely get at least two every year. However I succumbed last week. My daughter works in a supermarket and brought it home with her” – Moramug

“I’m missing a tooth fairly close to the front of my mouth and I don’t feel self conscious smiling in public when I’m wearing a mask. It’s a silly thing, but I kinda missed real smiles.

Thanks for the awards, guys! My most liked/commented comment is about my fucked up teeth. That’s… something. Lol.”- GreenOnionCrusader

“Me too! I lost 17 lbs and I just was discharged from therapy because my depression is officially, clinically at a zero. Go us!

To answer some questions:

Weight loss: I initially did a wellness challenge called 75HARD—a 75 day challenge that requires two workouts per day and sticking to a diet of your choice, among several other daily tasks. That kicked my butt into gear and got me into the habit of regularly exercising and eating well, so I’ve lost a few more lbs since I completed it in September. This also helped my mental health a lot, but not completely.

Mental health: I did Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which is a form of CBT that focuses on accepting your feelings and mindfully working through them, rather than avoiding them. My therapist had me fill out a questionnaire every time we met and based on my answers, he was able to calculate numbers on a depression scale. I can’t go into more detail about that, cause I don’t know, but I started at a 42/100 and last week was at a 3 on one scale. And on another I started out at a 7/10 and last week was at a 0. So I’m clinically not depressed I guess. Plus, the last several weeks I’ve come to him feeling great and having little to talk about, which meant it was time for me to be discharged.

Why was I discharged? My therapist works out of a medical facility, rather than private practice, so they go based on a medical model. It’s more of a “let’s give our patients the tools they need to cope and once they no longer NEED us, we’ll let them go,” so they can make room for more patients with acute needs, rather than a “we’ll see patients as long as they pay us.” I could’ve been referred to someone like that, but, like I said, I didn’t have much to talk about by the end.

What specifically helped me? Mindfulness exercises and writing down 5 good things about myself each day. My negative self talk was the biggest factor in my depression. I don’t do that anymore. I am a badass!”- yojothobodoflo

“Man I feel totally the opposite. I’ve gained weight and feel totally anxious and depressed. I think I was before but now feel like deffff am. Considering therapy but feel overwhelmed by the different options. Like there are so many different titles and qualifications and methods and the insurance is even more confusing than finding a primary care. Which I also need to do….”- Pficky

“No pressure to go somewhere on my days off. I don’t feel like I’m wasting time when I have days off and don’t spend them traveling or seeing people. I love staying at home and just hanging with my two cats. Sweat pants on, messy bun, junk food and games. I’m content with that.”- not-a-real_username

“Yes. I think I have learned to accept my homebody nature instead of feeling like I “should” be going out and doing things. There’s nothing wrong with making a home for yourself and then enjoying being there.”-notreallylucy

“My employer now knows for sure that working from home is completely doable and really doesn’t fuck up productivity.

I’ve also learned that I like going into the office once or twice a week just to break up the monotony of working from home all the time.”- AcrolloPeed

”For me personally, online learning. It just clicks with my brain somehow. I’ve gotten the best grades these past few semesters of my whole time in college. I’m off academic probation, I got an A in a class I failed twice before (required for my major), and I am able to do a second major I really wanted. I’m so much less stressed about exams and it feels so good to be able to show my parents grades I’m proud of. I don’t know how I would’ve been able to do this without online classes. I had a lot of trouble with attendance, and my bad memory, and now I’m able to go to class from my room and re-watch lectures and have some notes for exams. I felt so low my first few years of college and I finally feel good about myself as a student. It’s still hard to believe that it’s me getting these grades and graduation is scary but I’m so glad I get to do it.

Edit: thank you so much for all of the support and the really interesting discussions people are having! And a special thank you to the people who gave me awards, that’s very kind of you all!

I think the big takeaway here is that neither online nor in-person classes are objectively better, and that different learning formats work for different people. Hopefully colleges will be able to offer all or most classes in either format post-pandemic so that students can choose which version works for them. Good luck everyone, I believe in you!”-pastelkawaiibunny

“Seconding this. I can pause the recording to think through something I don’t understand, or work through a proof that clearly isn’t trivial despite the lecturer’s insistence so it won’t distract me for the rest of the lesson. The easy parts I can juat fast-forward through.”-Vampyricon

“You learned something important about yourself.. Several somethings, actually. You now know where and how and under what conditions you thrive.

The world has also learned several somethings too. “Out of the box” is no longer a metaphor. There are many ways to achieve. Remote employees can and will deliver. Embracing all this improves the bottom line!

Put these two things together: You now know what place you seek, and that place now EXISTS! Enjoy the finding of it, friend…”-JuliusVrooder

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