Apparently children really aren’t cheaper by the dozen, at least not for Tocca Collins. The single mom of 12 (yep, count ‘em… 12) is having a hard time keeping a roof over her family’s collective head, and she and her kids are now basically homeless after the landlords she’s been paying rent to turned out to be frauds. Scammers. Bunko artists. Now Collins needs to not only find somewhere to live post haste for obvious reasons, she’s got the added worry that state officials will take her children away if she doesn’t.
Come to find out, the owners of the house she’s been living in aren’t even the owners, and have been pocketing the $600 she’s shelled out in monthly rent for a home they don’t even own. (Now that takes some chutzpah, no?) Meanwhile, the family has been struggling in squalor with no electricity for almost a year after a small fire knocked their service out. Like most tenants who know their rights and say enough is enough, Collins told her landlords that they weren’t getting another buck from her until that and other issues were resolved.
She protested and stopped paying rent, her landlords protested and filed a case in court, and it could’ve been a cut and dry example of rental property negotiations—if in fact the plantiffs could’ve produced any kind of proof that they owned the home. They couldn’t. Turns out the real owner lives in New York and didn’t even know anyone was living on her property, much less charging rent and making money off of it.
In the midst of the home ownership showdown, however, are Collins and her kids, made even more stressful because the state is circling. But let’s talk about the pink elephant on the page: the fact that she has 12 kids in the first place. A quick scroll through the comments on sites covering the story glaze over the preposterousness of the fraud and focus on the fact that she had birthed a dozen babies. How ghetto she is. How irresponsible her decision-making has been. How she’s a stereotype, a shame, and, basically, a bad representation of black womanhood.
Now I’ll be the first to say that more kids than you can count on two hands is a whole lot of baby-makin’. But last time I checked, having a Mother Hubbard gang of kids still doesn’t qualify you to be targeted for a scam. In fact, it should be even more of an insult to justice since that means that many children will be out on the street or herded into the foster care system as a result of the debacle. Le sigh. Focus on what’s really wrong, folks.
Do you think women who have a lot of children are easier targets for scams like this?
Image via J@ck!/Flickr