[Hpn] Eviction, disbility put family of 8 in jeopardy;Augusta, Maine;11/15/01
Morgan W. Brown
Fri, 16 Nov 2001 00:41:46 -0500
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel <http://www.centralmaine.com>
Eviction, disbility put family of 8 in jeopardy
By BETTY ADAMS, Staff Writer
Staff photo by JIM EVANS
Members of the Burton and Badershall family relax, wrestle, snack, read, do
homework and count change Wednesday in an Augusta mmotel room after losing
their apartment recently. In the middle is Beth Badershall, 11; clockwise
from the top is father Brian Badershall; mother Susan Burton; Cindy
Badershall, 12; Brandon Badershall, 7; Cordell Burton, 5; Jordan Burton, 9;
and Lee Badershall, 10.
--[End of photo caption]
AUGUSTA — Susan Burton, Brian Badershall and six of their children live
night to night in a motel room.
Each morning, the children get up and go to school not knowing where they
will sleep at night.
And their parents wonder how they are going to pay the daily $45 room cost.
Their plight took on greater significance this week amid the marches and
candlelight vigils in celebration of National Hunger and Homelessness
Awareness Week. But the family's misfortune probably will continue despite
the publicity that accompanies the awareness week.
The family had rented a four-bedroom apartment in Augusta until they were
evicted a week ago.
It was centrally located near schools, supermarkets and other services,
because neither parent has a car or a driver's license.
Now, at a Western Avenue motel, they're farther from the services they need,
and must pay for taxi rides when they can't walk. They have three changes of
outfits for each member of the family.
Tuesday morning, they used their last $12 to send the children to school,
Burton said. Four of the children attend elementary school and two go to
Burton, 34, took to the phone, calling social-service agencies,
congressional offices and anybody who could help the family with their
It is the third time she has been homeless.
"It's been two years from hell," said Burton, in a voice beginning to shake.
"Over past two years I've lost everything I've owned to a previous landlord.
It's been like a nightmare from hell."
This week they pawned the children's boombox, PlayStation and videocassette
recorder to pay for their motel room.
For their last home, the family paid a total of $750 a month for rent and
Burton receives money from Social Security because she is disabled.
Badershall, 35, receives benefits through the Temporary Aid to Needy
Families Program. He has applied for disability benefits also.
Cooking is not permitted in the motel. The family has used local food banks.
The children are able to eat at school.
Wednesday morning, Burton received preliminary denial of assistance from the
Augusta office of public assistance.
Their monthly income — derived from Social Security and the temporary aid
program — is higher than the upper limit for a family of eight: $1,046.
Burton was accompanied by Jan Lightfoot, program coordinator of Hospitality
House Inc., which operates a statewide Homeless Crisis Hotline.
By Wednesday afternoon, Burton and Lightfoot were at the Marketplace at
Augusta with signs about the family's plight.
Previously, Burton and Badershall stayed at the Augusta homeless shelter
operated by the Bread of Life Ministries, but found the distance from
services too far to walk.
"I ended up in the emergency room from that," Burton said, "because of the
extensive walking I was having to do."
John Applin, executive director of the Bread of Life Ministries, said the
shelter has an opening in the family room on the shelter's third floor. He
said Burton's family has been housed at the shelter before.
"They came to us from a hotel last time," said Applin. "They have not been
back to us."
Applin said children staying at the shelter can be transported to the
Augusta schools where they are enrolled.
The Bread of Life Ministries has 16 beds at the Hospital Street shelter,
with a capacity for 5,840 bed-nights (one person staying one night in one
bed). For the current year, the ministries project 5,200 of those bed-nights
will be filled.
In a report to the city several weeks ago, Applin wrote, "We turn away an
increasing number of people, especially families. Where five years ago the
primary population we served was single people, it is now single parents or
Anyone interested in additional information on homeless services or in
aiding the Burton-Badershall family can call the Homeless Crisis Hotline at
To reach Betty Adams
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Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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