New chapter for family forced out of Wilson Street apartment

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Trina Luna and her family have settled into their new place on Ray Street. Photo/Pat Grossmith

MANCHESTER, NH – A month after she and her family were evicted from their apartment of 15 years because the landlord wanted to renovate it, Trina Luna is now happily relocated in a first-floor apartment in the North End.

“It’s so quiet,” said Luna of her new home at 151 Ray St.  Previously Luna, her teenage son, her 69-year-old father and her fiance/caregiver lived in a third-floor apartment at 221 Wilson St. The tenement, built in 1880, was rundown and in need of extensive repairs, thus the landlord evicted the family – even though their rent was paid in full – to renovate the apartment.

That building is located in a noisy part of the city, across the street from the Davignon Club.

“Every night you hear the Karaoke and everybody’s drunk and thinks they can sing,” she said. “Then there was more on the weekends and the fighting going on out of there and then you would have the people inside our building fighting. Late at night, we saw somebody get stabbed and had to call it in.”

Trina Luna in her new kitchen.

None of that is happening on Ray Street or in her apartment building. 

It is a huge change, a welcomed one. 

“The other day we saw a family riding their bikes,” she said, an occurrence she never saw in the 15 years she lived on Wilson Street. Joggers and dog walkers regulary pass by. “Livingston is maybe a 10 to 20-minute walk from here. It’s the one we would go to for the pool.” 

The family quickly has adapted to the peacefulness of the neighborhood. Luna said even her cat seems more upbeat, and happy. “She’s more affectionate,” she said.   

The apartment is in a building that was built in 1910, but while more than 100 years old, it is clean and bright, in contrast to the old apartment which was dank and dark. 

“The old place made you feel like you were in a tomb,” she said.  “It was so much darker.”

While numerous boxes still need to be unpacked, Luna appears content and happy.  It didn’t take her long to adjust to the new place.

She laughs when she talks about hearing two cars pass by the other day with music blaring, disrupting the peacefulness.

“What are you doing here?” Luna recalls thinking. “Did you get lost?” It only had been about three weeks since they moved in, clearly enough time to adjust to the serene place.

It comes at a price.  Previously, the family was paying $875 a month, plus utilities, for the rundown flat.  Now, the cost is $1,700 with heat and hot water included.  Luna, whose family does not receive rental assistance, said they can manage it.

“We’re really lucky to get it because everybody else was charging upwards of two grand if not more. It’s only $200 more than we wanted to do,” she said.

What they couldn’t handle was coming up with a security deposit, a month’s rent and cost of movers.  She is thankful that people contributed to a GoFundMe site for the family, donating $1,818 which the family used for the security deposit and first month’s rent.

Vetrun Movers of Manchester, founded by disabled U.S. Army veteran Cordan James Haverson, moved the family.

Moving day from Trina Luna’s Wilson Street apartment. Courtesy Photo

“They worked their behinds off,” Luna said. “They were very helpful.  Very fast.”

She said it was a husband, wife and son who moved them.  “They banged it out in about four to five hours.”

Haverson said a worker was stationed on each level, handing off items one to the other so no one employee had to repeatedly go up and down three flights of stairs.  Of course, heavier items – dressers, a freezer – needed two movers to bring them down to a U-Haul truck.

Haverson, who worked as the general manager for U-Haul in Nashua and Salisbury, Mass., started Vetrun in June 2021.  James McTiernan co-owns the business.

Haverson said his company is interested in helping others in the community in need of relocating. They also do clean-ups and trash pickups.

Luna said she can see herself living at the Ray Street apartment for a very long time.

“We like it,” she said.


 

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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.