Metro Detroiters scrambling to pay rent, bills that are due April 1

Posted at 11:49 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 05:55:23-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — While many businesses and restaurants have closed their doors amid the spread of coronavirus, plenty of other businesses are hiring to meet increased customer needs.

While the increase for job opportunities is good, some folks are finding it difficult to pay bills that are due at the beginning of the month.

Right now, there are so many what if's and just wait and see. On one side you have thousands of job opportunities, but on the other you have many people now having to make decisions about paying bills or putting food on the table.

"I got laid off and my rent raised in the same week," said Michael Harper, who rents at Lake Villa Mobile home park in Oxford.

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With a new month on the horizon and hundreds of thousands of people out of work, getting by is becoming a real struggle including paying bills.

"I have been saving for a house, so I do have some savings and I do have a bit of a cushion there and I’m fortunate because a lot of people don’t," Harper said.

Harper is one of hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who were laid off. He has three kids and just received a letter from management at Lake Villa Mobile Home Park in Oxford saying his rent is going up.

"I’ve called the office, but the office has been shutdown and then when I posted it in there, three our four different residents have all gotten the same email back," he said. "It’s just a canned email, that we’re sorry about your circumstances contact us if there are any issues or anything like that."

Even though times are tough, there is a bright spot. Thousands of companies in Michigan are looking to hire.

"There are some organizations and industries out there that do have a need for top talent," said Ryan Miller, client success manager at Employment Boost.

In fact, Kroger announced this week they will hire 2,000 full and part time employees to meet demand. Nino Salvaggio is looking to fill 100 positions.

Busch's Fresh Food Market and Walmart are also looking for help.

"To my knowledge, I know a lot of the larger businesses in the area are offering some kind on PPE to work with customers and inventory as well," Miller said. "And I know a lot organizations are taking the extra step to sanitize different pieces of inventory and different goods that go out."

Harper says he knows he will eventually get his job back after this pandemic is over but says during a crisis like this, landlords shouldn't be raising rent, or prices when some are struggling just to put food on the table.

"A lot of people are going to be set back," he said. "There’s going to be a lot of trouble. We have to bond together to try to help each other, we really do. We can’t be increasing bills while people are getting laid off."

7 Action News did reach out to Lake Villa for comment, but haven't heard back.