All Stories



August 10, 2010 by Nelida

Mariel de Jesus had traveled to many places before winding up in the SRO building. A native of Puerto Rico, she left her homeland in search of a better treatment to her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She first went to New York , then travelled to Connecticut, and finally ended up in Chicago. She’s lived here for 21 years.

Before living in the SRO building, Mariel lived in a small apartment with her sister. However, things did not work out well between them, and Mariel sought a place to live that would offer her some peace and privacy. She came across the SRO building four years ago, and has been living there ever since.

The building does offer her the privacy and life of tranquility that she wanted. However, there are some things about the neighborhood that she dislikes. For one, it troubles Mariel that drugs and alcohol are readily available in the neighborhood. Oftentimes, adolescents hang out near the liquor store across the street and cause mayhem. She blames most of the crime on them.

Aside from the problems in the neighborhood, Mariel also finds that there a lot of problems with the building she lives in. For one, there is always a lot of gossip. This disrupts the tranquility that she desires.The “chinches” (bed bugs) are also a problem. But what really gets her is when tenants and visitors do not follow the building rules. Visitors are supposed to sign in at the front desk when they come in, for safety reasons. Oftentimes, though, visitors walk in without giving so much as a sideways glance at the front desk. This troubles her because if someone were to come upstairs and harm her, there would be no way of tracking who that person was. She suggests having a security guard at the front desk. “That would definitely alleviate some of my worries.”

Another problem that she notices is that the property manager of the building does not listen to the tenants. She recalls one time when she requested to move in an unoccupied room next to a friend. Her request was denied for seemingly no reason. She wishes that the property manager would pay more attention to the requests of the tenants.

Even though her room is very small and she dislikes sharing bathrooms, Mariel admits that the building could be a lot worse. She is grateful that she has a place to call her own.