By Kenneth Miller, Publisher
Starting at the teen age of 16, Tabitha Modzelewski got married, a job and begin birthing children.
She and her husband, whose name is withheld because he’s incarcerated and unable to comment for this story, are symbols of the American dream and nightmare. A doting couple, in love and committed to paving a good life for their family and all was going well until drugs and the pandemic came along to ruin it all.
The family would propagate to eventually reach 11 stretching both Modzelewski and her husband to work and babysit in alternating shifts.
“There were a couple of times that we needed assistance, but for the most part if I was working, he would stay and care for the children and vice versa,” she explained to Inglewood Today.
As she somberly reminisced about the good old days, Modzelewski turns to her infant son of which there are two of them, and lifts the car seat to cradle him to sleep. The two year old cleaves to his mommy legs while eight other children ranging to age 17 pay close attention.
Modzelewski is an American with a Polish surname. Her Irish mother was born in Ohio and her Polish father in Lompoc, California.
Her husband is Black and suffers from drug addiction.He is also
“He has never brought drugs into our home and he has not allowed for it to prevent him from being there for his children, but it is a hindrance and has got the best of him at times.”
He landed in jail while the family was living in Riverside County in their camper home and police arrested him for being a felony carrying a gun, she said.
That was back in November 2020, after the family was facing eviction and served with a 60 day notice.
Modzelewski did not know she had any choice but to leave.
However, on January 29, 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to extend the state’s landmark eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021, protecting millions of Californians struggling as a result of the economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I know that now, but I wasn’t thinking then,” she added.
She says she does not share to husband’s addiction nor does she drink alcohol. The 39-year old reluctantly submitted to this interview, all the while clinging to a cigarette and holding a can of Coke while monitoring her children.
Miraculously, she has kept her children with her as they move from one location for shelter to the next and checked in for online schooling each day. Two of the children require special needs.
Because she had worked all of these years as an administrative assistant and accountant, she is eligible to collect unemployment assistance. Currently she receives $1,500 bi weekly, in addition to $1,200 in food stamps.
“I lost my job back in March due the pandemic and wasn’t able to pay the rent. My landlord served us with eviction and we vacated and split the kids up between us and my mom house, but a situation occurred at my mom house so we could not stay there anymore and we are now in this situation with no place to go,” she continued.
Modzelewski and her family puts a new face on the homeless crisis, images that surely exist already, but are shielding behind the plight of drug/alcohol addiction and mental illness which merges into each other.
As Los Angeles County and the nation eases from the restrictions that COVID-19 forced on us and the government aid that provided temporary protections, Modzelewski and her children await their fate that is no longer in their hands.