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Updated Dec. 14, 9:44 a.m.–
Sentinel staff report–
Just six months ago, 42-year-old April Koontz had enough money to pay the bills and monthly rent for her Citrus Heights home. But then her hours got reduced at FoodMaxx where she works as a cashier, and a vehicle break-in left her without enough to pay rent this month.
“Everything sort of withered away slowly but surely,” the single mom said in an interview at her home Thursday morning. The latest tragedy happened last week when her vehicle was broken into outside her home, with rent money she had inside stolen.
Koontz and her two children living with her now have until Dec. 23 to pack their belongings and move out — unless a Christmas miracle comes her way and she is able to pay $1300 in overdue rent.
Trying to make ends meet in recent months, she rented out her own room to a roommate and now sleeps on the couch.
After reaching out to a neighbor, a plan was devised to sell much of her household belongings to be able to make rent, enjoy Christmas in the home with her children, and then make plans for where to move next.
“I’m getting rid of all my stuff in order for them to have a house and we can get back on our feet,” she said, sitting in front of a half-decorated Christmas tree in her living room. “Maybe it won’t be a lot of Christmas presents, but it will be something, and I think that they will appreciate it — just the fact that we have a home and it’s warm.”
A yard sale will be held at her home this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, located at 7695 Cook Ave. in Citrus Heights.
“It’s been a rough road, and this just made it rougher,” said Koontz, referencing a custody battle and other difficulties.
She keeps an upbeat attitude even through the difficulties, and speaks with confidence that her situation is temporary and a better future lies ahead — although acknowledging many unknowns. Her birthday also falls two days after Christmas, but she’s more concerned about her children and helping others. “I don’t care about me,” she said.
Koontz first moved to Citrus Heights in 1996 and moved into her current home at the corner of Mariposa and Cook Avenues three-and-a-half years ago.
Her landlord is ultimately planning to sell the home in the near future, so lining up a new place to rent comes next. However, Koontz doesn’t want to leave with a blemish on her rental history if all payments aren’t made, and staying through until the beginning of the year will give her some extra time to look into the best option for renting elsewhere.
Yard sale items will include furniture, matching recliners, chairs, patio and dining room tables, along with lots of picture frames, glasses and vases. Outdoor items for sale include an almost-new lawn mower she purchased for over $200 this summer, a portable fire pit, rakes, ladders, and other items.
With rain in the forecast, Koontz said the sale will be held indoors at 7695 Cook Ave., from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 13 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 14.
Update: As of Friday night, Koontz said she had raised enough money from the yard sale and generous donations to pay her rent through December.
*Editor’s note: As part of our commitment to accurate reporting, The Sentinel reached out to several outside sources, including Citrus Heights police, to confirm details included in this story where possible. After publishing this story, The Sentinel has received information disputing that child support payments had been halted. An update has been published here: Community rallies behind single mom in Citrus Heights faced with losing home
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