Homeowner Marie Riggins is hoping for a miracle. The 82-year-old widow from Inglewood, California, is on the verge of losing the home she bought in 1986 with her late husband. The house was supposed to be their forever home, but an unfortunate set of challenges and homeowner’s association (HOA) dues has landed her on the county’s list of evictions.
After losing her husband to pancreatic cancer, Riggins was forced to file for bankruptcy. In 2017, an avalanche began when she started to fall behind on the HOA fees. Although she still works as a bookkeeper, her income has not been enough to stay current.
“My blood, sweat, and tears are in this house,” said Riggins. “This is my home. This is where I’m going to stay.” The elderly homeowner owes $38,000 in back dues.
Due to several rounds of development in Inglewood, Riggins’ home is currently worth about $1 million since the $5 billion SoFi stadium was built across from the house, KTLA reported.
The stadium was a major source of contention for Black residents who complained that gentrification was driving rental and purchase prices through the roof in addition to the stadium. Inglewood’s median household income of $46,000 is nearly $15,000 less than that of Los Angeles County, and $25,000 less than the state made the situation much worse for its residents.
Since the construction and opening of the stadium, which also contains restaurants, retail, homes and office spaces, many Black and Hispanic residents have been either priced out of the housing market or faced eviction even before COVID-19.
But for Riggins, the value of the home is less important than what the home means to her.
“I’m trying to pay them to get my title back because I don’t plan to move from here. My husband died here. It makes me sick,” she said.
According to the independent website SpaceRent Guide, HOA dues in the Carlton Square gated community are approximately $341 per month.
A GoFundMe was set up for the resolute homeowner by her lawyer Nissan Thomas seeking $250,000. Riggins is scheduled to be permanently locked out of her house by the Los Angeles County Sherriff in less than 30 days if Thomas cannot successfully negotiate an alternative. The campaign has currently raised almost $48,000 with over 1,000 donors.
For now, Marie Riggins is awaiting a miracle. Those who desire to donate can do so on her fundraising page.