Rebecca Ciraulo relocated to Saranac Lake from Troy a decade ago, brought by a nonprofit preschool teaching job.
“I don’t make any money, but really, really wanted to work there,” Ciraulo said.
Her partner, a painting contractor, also didn’t have much business when they first moved. Their budget for an apartment was $800 per month. They searched for months with no luck until, finally, word-of-mouth found them a place they could afford. But a year later, the landlord sold their building, and they were forced to move.
“That started a snowball of moving once a year,” Ciraulo said.
Each time, they would search to no avail, until connections in the neighborhood would pull through with a workable option at the last minute. Then the building would sell again, or the heat didn’t work, or the place simply wouldn’t make sense for a growing family.
Two years ago, Ciraulo and her partner bought a house with the help of a cosigner, barely gaining a foothold in what she described as “the cheapest house in Saranac Lake.”
“We got so lucky, because then the market skyrocketed,” Ciraulo said.
The years of constant moving, however, took a toll on the family, both financially and emotionally. “You can’t get on your feet when every place you get in is temporary,” Ciraulo said.
Looking forward, Ciraulo hopes the village can find a way to provide more affordable housing for people who live and work in the community. And she wants property owners to realize the effect they can have on their tenants’ lives, especially when they kick them out on short notice.
“It’s so hard to have your life in the hands of that kind of person,” Ciraulo said.
— Mike De Socio