Keeshemah’s Story

Just 14 days after losing her husband to COVID-19, Keeshemah received an eviction notice on the home she had built with the love of her life.

“I always called Maurice my “accelerator.” Whenever I was afraid to do something, he would push my foot down. He pushed me to apply for a job as a preschool teacher, and I got the job. We were happy together. “

Maurice and Keeshemah first met in high school. The two were high school sweethearts. But eventually, they went their separate ways. Keeshemah moved to Texas, and Maurice stayed in the Bay Area. They lived different lives, had their own families. But in 2005, the two reconnected. They talked almost every day on the phone, while he was in San Francisco and Keeshemah was in Texas. 

For a long time, the two dated long-distance. They had been talking about being in the same place, but then Maurice had a series of strokes. It was easier for Keeshemah to uproot from Texas and move back to San Francisco. So she did. 

Their house was in the Bayview neighborhood. It was actually the house that Maurice’s mom used to live in before he moved in. Keeshemah would drop the rent check off in person. Keeshemah and Maurice had been meaning to add her name to the lease, but they didn’t think it needed to be in any sort of rush.

Maurice’s health started declining in July of 2020. He wasn’t hungry and his breathing was labored. Keeshemah finally convinced him to go to the hospital and Keeshemah says, “he took the time to put on a whole outfit and shave!” Maurice was diagnosed with COVID-19. He went to the hospital on a Monday and he died on that Saturday morning, August 1.

I lost my accelerator. I had left my life in Texas and we built this home together.

Maurice wasn’t even buried yet when the property manager gave Keeshemah an eviction notice for 14 days later. The landlord was claiming that she was a squatter. Keeshemah paid rent and lived there for months. While her name wasn’t on the lease, she was named as his emergency contact on all the paperwork. 
A friend of Keeshemah’s stepson found Open Door Legal and connected her with an attorney. Housing Law Attorney, Dyne, called her back and explained the rights she has. Dyne explained to Keeshemah that during COVID-19, there was an eviction moratorium that prevented tenants like Keeshemah from being evicted during the pandemic. Keeshemah says, “Dyne helped me during all the paperwork while I was grieving.”

After so much uncertainty, I am really thankful to have my home.

We were able to get the judge to dismiss the case and allow Keeshemah to keep the home she made with Maurice, “I get to stay. and now I have time to heal. This place has the most incredible view I have ever lived on. At night now, I can see the moon reflecting off the water.”