A Memphis woman who is recovering from COVID-19 was evicted from her home last week because of a medical debt belonging to her stepmother.
Leslie Nelson’s entire life was haphazardly stacked on her lawn Thursday as she was forcibly evicted from her Raleigh neighborhood home.
Nelson was still struggling to breathe, could barely stand, and even suffered a seizure as her belongings were removed from the house she inherited from her family several years ago.
She said officers in Memphis threatened to arrest her while she was away from her home.
Leslie Nelson of Memphis, Tennessee, was evicted from her home Thursday as she said she was still recovering from COVID-19
In June, Tennessee officials ended the moratorium on home evictions put in place at the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Nelson’s belongings stacked on the front lawn of his home
The 56-year-old COVID-19 survivor was one of many Tennessee residents who were left behind after the state’s moratorium on home evictions was lifted in June.
Tennessee officials imposed a moratorium earlier this year to help dozens of Americans, many of whom have lost their jobs and resources, to stay afloat during the pandemic.
But in August, as cases continue to rise across the country and an end to the pandemic is nowhere in sight, home evictions are the last thing residents need.
Nelson told The Commercial Appeal that she begged a probate attorney for a chance to settle the debt of her late mother-in-law’s medical bills, but to no avail.
Leslie Nelson (pictured) said she was unaware of her stepmother’s medical debt and made efforts to pay it off
She said she was unaware of the medical debt until her stepmother passed away. The house was left to her and a partner.
Nelson said she had the documents to prove it and tried to pay off the medical debt that was lingering with the house.
A GoFundMe was created last week that raised $ 12,500 of its goal of $ 20,000 on Sunday.
“I offered to pay,” Nelson told the publication. “But he didn’t even give me a warning. He just sent movers here, and they showed up with the police.
Nelson said she first contracted COVID-19 on June 11 when she decided to visit a friend a day after spending much of the pandemic indoors.
A few days later the friend called and she thought they were suffering from heat stroke symptoms when they saw each other. It wasn’t heatstroke. It was COVID-19.
Nelson’s health would deteriorate over the next three days and she felt sicker than she had ever been.
“I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stand, I was hallucinating at one point,” Nelson said.
She called an ambulance home and spent several days at Methodist North Hospital on oxygen.
Nelson walked out a few weeks ago feeling like she was starting to get better. But a process server showed up at her home and Nelson said she got sick from the stress.
Pictured: Nelson’s belongings placed on her lawn in Memphis as she was evicted on Thursday
Memphis police, community volunteers and movers were all at Nelson’s home Thursday for the eviction.
In fact, Nelson is said to have suffered an epileptic seizure on Thursday morning in the midst of the eviction rush, reports The Commercial Appeal.
That night, Nelson went to a local hospital with chest pain.
Police from Memphis were at Nelson’s home to ensure peace and the process server, who was there to oversee the eviction, left around 3 p.m. The movers were also at the scene.
Ten volunteers arrived at Nelson’s home to simultaneously help her move her things out of the afternoon sun and take care of her from a safe distance.
Leslie Nelson (left and right) said she first contracted COVID-19 in June after visiting a friend
Lesie (far right) claimed a police officer threatened to arrest her while she was away from her home on Thursday
The volunteers went down to Nelson’s house after she sent a distress call on Facebook.
In the video, she can be heard telling two officers that she “has COVID-19 and it’s hard to even think”.
Police say they believed she was “cleared” of the virus, but she insists health officials have tried to hospitalize her three times.
She claimed the local health department said city officials couldn’t kick Nelson out of her home because she was still “active.”
Nelson’s pleas were amplified by Hunter Demster, a community organizer and activist, who broadcast his eviction on Facebook Live.
“A dozen people showed up, dedicating their time, potentially putting themselves at risk of COVID to do the right thing,” Hunter told WREG.
At one point, the scene turned chaotic as a processing server allegedly took an antique rifle from Nelson’s house and said he was taking it in his car.
Volunteers attempted to block the process server by standing in its way.
Nelson (photo): “I offered to pay, but he didn’t even give me a warning. He just sent movers here, and they showed up with the police ‘
Nelson attempted to retrieve the antique rifle herself, but the processing server allegedly tipped the rifle in the presence of officers.
The process server later said he would return the rifle before leaving. He allegedly claimed that it was his right to temporarily keep the weapon.
“Just absurd behavior,” activist Marissa Kizer told WREG.
Demster said it was an “infuriating” situation to see a woman dealing with COVID-19 being displaced.
“Collecting debt from a deceased person is more important than putting an elderly woman on the streets recovering from COVID, and that’s what they say. This is what they did! he said.
Nelson added that his predicament could befall several Tennessee residents in the coming months.
“It’s going to happen again. And next time, I want to be the one to show up to help, ”she said.
But for now, Nelson’s things have been placed in a small rented storage space that has been donated.
Tennessee has recorded 118,000 confirmed infections and 1,200 deaths.