A 97-year-old World War II veteran—one who was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese—is being kicked out of his Brooklyn, N.Y., home, according to a report.
The Rev. James Blakely says that he’s being evicted from his apartment in the New York City borough some five years after, he says, it was gifted to him rent-free.
“They’re trying to put me out. It’s injustice,” the war hero—who earned Navy combat stars for his service in Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal and Luzon, in the Philippines—said to the New York Daily News. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. ... I don’t feel good. I got no place else to go.”
The News first reported about Blakely in 2012, when he was living out of a ramshackle trailer. The organization Black Veterans for Social Justice saw the story and offered to help, putting him into the apartment he currently lives in. Blakely says he understood that he’d never have to pay rent.
However, the News reports that officials with Black Veterans say that Blakely signed a lease to pay $778 a month for the apartment after the first year, and then $635 after his rent was reduced.
Last year, Blakely reportedly received an eviction notice saying that he owed $24,130, a fact he attributes to the rapidly gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood he lives in, and the “pending sale of the rent-stabilized building to a Manhattan developer.”
The News reports that the “plucky war vet” is obviously distressed about being removed from his home.
“I lay down at night and don’t know if I’ll have a place to lay down tomorrow night. It’s not a pleasant feeling,” said Blakely. “This is home. It’s a place to live, sleep and cook. I just want my one-bedroom apartment. That’s not a lot to ask.”
“Where would I go if I’m kicked out of here?” he asks.
Somebody please start a (legitimate) GoFund Me for this man. If the government won’t take care of him, we should.
Read more at the New York Daily News.
Editor’s note: We are happy to report that there is, in fact, a GoFundMe forBlakely: