When Isthmus first wrote about Kevin Corcoran ("Kevin Corcoran's Plight Reveals Holes in Dane County's Safety Net," 9/29/2011), the disabled liver donor recipient had just agreed to vacate the Madison apartment he and his partner, Myrna Ulrich, shared because they were $10,000 behind on rent. Corcoran, who also has chronic pain from hepatitis B he contracted from a blood transfusion in the 1970s, fell behind on rent because he spent much of his $1,600 monthly income on medical visits and prescriptions.
According to their agreement with landlord Philip Kessel, Corcoran and Ulrich were to be out of the apartment by Oct. 20. But finding a new apartment has not been easy due to their poor credit history.
A senior living apartment complex in Middleton has offered to rent them an accessible two-bedroom apartment, but it is requiring four months of rent upfront along with a security deposit.
That wouldn't be legal in Madison, says Brenda Konkel, executive director of the Tenant Resource Center, but it is in Middleton. Of course if the state Legislature passes SB 107, Konkel adds, it would be legal in Madison, too, because the proposed bill would override many of the city's tenant protections.
"This is a really good example of the kinds of draconian policies landlords are able to put into place with these low vacancy rates," says Konkel. "And people have no choice but to make it work, or be homeless."
Since Isthmus wrote about Corcoran's plight, good Samaritans have stepped up to help. One reader called with a potential studio apartment to rent; another offered Corcoran, who is diabetic, unused syringes her husband no longer needs. Middleton Outreach Ministry has assisted him, as has a local church.
One man is offering to pay two of the four months of prepaid rent the couple need for their new digs. He has also set up a "Kevin Corcoran Fresh Start Account" at the Summit Credit Union on Junction Road and created a website for donations (sites.google.com/site/friendsofkevincorcoran).
He actually gives credit to the managment of the Middleton apartment building for trying to work out an arrangement for Corcoran. "Most of the other apartments aren't even considering him," he says.