Facing eviction, Scranton couple share struggle to find new home

·2 min read

Sep. 23—The Times-Tribune spoke to more than two dozen people from different walks of life as they confront our changing economy. Their stories will be published each day in print and at thetimes-tribune.com/news/pricedout.

SCRANTON — Britany Rillstone dialed the phone number, hoping to finally hear good news from the voice on the other end.

Rillstone, 33, and her husband, Jeromy, 35, had been searching for a new rental home for weeks after their landlord unexpectedly notified them he would evict the couple and their five children if they did not voluntarily vacate their Scranton home by the end of July.

They searched dozens of listings by July 13. The threat of homelessness was growing by the day.

"Most times, they don't call you back," Jeromy Rillstone said. "The ones that do respond say it's taken, or our credit score wasn't what they needed."

This home in Moosic that Britany Rillstone was calling about looked promising. She explained to the owner that they always paid their rent. She suspected they were being forced out because the landlord was angry they reported an electrical problem to the city.

Her husband has a good job as manager at a department store, but their credit score is low because of mistakes made years ago, she said.

"I was honest and told her everything," she said. "She said she'd run it by her husband and would call back."

She didn't. It was a bad sign. But Rillstone still had to try.

"Unfortunately," the woman's voice on the other end of the line began, "We don't want to get involved. I wish you luck, dear."

"This definitely hurts," Rillstone said as she hung up the phone.

With time running out, she and her husband decided to start moving things into a storage unit in case they have to temporarily move into a hotel.

Seventeen days after the last rejection, they found a home in Taylor. They moved in the first week of August.

"The way things are going with the housing market, I thought I was not going to get it," Britany Rillstone said. "I was in tears. We are actually going to have a home."

Contact the writer: tbesecker@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9137; @tmbeseckerTT on Twitter.