annie strain

A Safe Home For Michon’s Family

$10,010 raised of $14,000 goal

  • $10
  • 12 mos
  • $20
  • 12 mos
  • $50
  • 12 mos
  • $50
  • 12 mos
  • $50
  • 12 mos

The Backstory:

Michón and hir children are being unlawfully evicted— please help us get them into a safe home!

In 2016 Michón (pronouns: ze/hir) escaped an abusive relationship. Ze had a five-year-old child and was pregnant with hir second baby at the time.

Without relatives to help, Michón wound up stranded in San Francisco, facing homelessness. A white woman invited the little family to stay with her, only to evict Michón when hir baby was just five months old. During this time, Michón also helped hir sister to escape from an abusive relationship.

After being evicted, Michón and hir children lived in motels, and later in an RV parked on the street— praying that the police wouldn’t find them.

Michón has over twenty serious medical conditions, notably Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
In short, ze lives with chronic and debilitating extreme pain and fatigue.

Michón is a writer, a community organizer, and a social justice activist, and does work with embodied trauma healing.

Through an online social justice community, Michón met a white woman and her husband, who lived in Boston. After learning of Michón’s plight, the couple invited Michón and hir children to live in Boston, rent-free, indefinitely.

Michón knew hir family couldn’t survive much longer on their own, so in the fall of 2017 ze took a leap of faith, and agreed to let this couple fly hir family out to Boston.

Over the next few months, the couple proceeded to violate Michón’s boundaries, and more than once engaged in inappropriate behavior in front of Michón’s children. Michón was horrified, but ze was barely surviving financially, and had no choice but to stay.

In late 2018, another tenant, Johanne— who had also escaped an abusive relationship— moved into the house. Soon after this, one of the landlords made a pass at Johanne, which she refused.

The landlords started retaliating against Johanne— harassing her, and trying to turn Michón against her. They refused to fix the home’s broken stove, or install smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors— endangering the lives of Michón and hir children— now eight and three— and Johanne.

In early 2019, Michón and Johanne made an attempt to reach out to their landlords to ensure that basic safety measures were taken, and that standard tenant-landlord boundaries were respected.

Their landlords initially pretended to agree to these requests, and then suddenly announced that they had to sell the house, and that they were evicting everyone.

(The landlords sent an appraiser to the house who happened to mention that he was *not* conducting an appraisal for the sale of the house, but rather a specific inspection which is related to refinancing. However, there is no way to prove that the couple is not actually selling the property.)

How You Can Help:

The landlords managed to evict Johanne on July 13th—a *huge* thank you to everyone who supported her— and they are evicting Michón and hir children at the end of August, which violates multiple terms of Michón’s lease.

Considerable time has gone into researching whether it would be worth it to take the landlords to court. Because of Michón’s health conditions, and resulting financial instability, ze has concluded that ze does not have the physical strength or financial resources to go through a drawn-out court case.

Earlier this year, the landlords had offered to pay the tuition for Michón’s three-year-old’s preschool. He loves the school, and in Michón’s words: “the school is so good for him— he adores everyone there, and they love him to bits. They can actually get him to eat real food most of the time, LOL”.

When the landlords first announced the sale of the house, they re-committed to pay this tuition through the summer, and also offered to pay for Michón’s moving expenses. When the actual eviction notice arrived, Michón discovered that they had completely retracted their commitment to pay— leaving Michón $1,000 in debt to the preschool. They are also retracting their commitment to pay for moving expenses.

Michón is doing everything ze can to move hir children into a safe, stable home. Hir immediate financial needs are as follows:

• $2,700 to cover moving expenses and storage units.
• Michón’s car is barely running, and hir mechanic has given an estimate of $900 for repairs.
• Michón has received a partial scholarship from the preschool for next year, but needs to pay the outstanding balance of $1,000, and the $600/month tuition going forward.
• The extreme heat and rain in Boston has impacted Michón’s health and ability to work, and ze is behind on several bills, totaling $1,200.
• Last, and certainly not least, Michón needs a way to support hir family in the long term, and to provide a stable, safe home for hir children– for the first time in their lives.

In order to continue working to provide embodied trauma healing in a professional capacity that will support hir family, Michón needs to complete the Understanding and Treating Complex Trauma in Youth Adults and Families certificate program at the Justice Resource Institute.

The certificate program tuition is $3,800 and 10% of the tuition— $380–is due at the time of admittance. Michón needs to apply as soon as possible (admissions have been open since June 1st, and will close August 15 or sooner, if all spaces have been filled).

Fifty percent of the tuition is due two weeks before the course starts— $1,900 by July 31st. The balance of $1,900 is due by January 1st. [Correction: the first $1,900 is due August 15th, not July 31st. Woo-hoo— we will have time to reach this mini-goal!]

Michón is a loving parent, with a sweet and silly sense of humor, who so strongly wants the best for hir children. Michón is also a dedicated and generous community organizer and advocate, who has given so much to hir community.

$12,000 translates into 600 people contributing $20 each. Thank you in advance for your support— and please know that putting a bookmark to come back to this after payday, or even just sharing the GoFundMe link is deeply appreciated!

Please share widely—to social media, with texts to friends and family, and to any fundraising groups or email threads that would want to support a Black non-binary parent and community organizer.

Annie and Parker

This GoFundMe was reviewed and approved by Michón Neal.

Cash App: or $MichonGG

[GoFundMe mods— if these links are not allowed, please reach out to a campaign team member. Thank you!]

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The Backstory: Michón and hir children are being unlawfully evicted— please help us get … Annie Strain needs your support for A Safe Home For Michon’s Family

Gamer Jeff Strain Faces Major Loss on Hollywood Hills ‘Castle’

James McClain

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While most sellers in the luxury L.A. real estate arena are basking in the glow of today’s red-hot market, a few unlucky folks have been badly burned. One of those is Jeff Strain, the high-profile video game programmer turned CEO, and his wife Annie. In fall 2018, shortly after Strain sold his successful zombie game development company Undead Labs to Microsoft for an undisclosed amount, the couple paid just a hair under $12 million — in cash — for a castle-like Hollywood Hills home sold by reality TV’s Robert and Courtney Novogratz.

After barely a year of L.A. living, the New Orleans-based Strains have apparently had enough. The couple have slapped a motivated $9.4 million pricetag on their erstwhile home, which appears to have been impeccably maintained since their purchase. Even in the unlikely event of a full-price offer, Strain stands to lose $2.55 million before carrying costs, taxes and hefty realtor fees are included.

The current and very entertainingly-written listing makes no secret of the fact that the property is a “fabulous value” and also draws a clear distinction between the unique house and cookie-cutter glass modern homes that have become all but ubiquitous in the surrounding hills. “If you’re looking for a modern box house with a shark tank and a gazillion car garage with viewing windows… well, we don’t know what to tell you,” it says.

Originally built in 1926, the multi-level house sports a strikingly contemporary, Restoration Hardware-like interior motif that belies its old-world architecture. There are garage facilities for four automobiles and additional off-street parking in a separate gated motorcourt — a rare amount of space in these tightly-packed hills — and the structure’s crisp white exterior walls starkly contrast with its dark grey slate roof.

Expansive, open-concept living spaces “are all designed for entertaining,” per the home’s listing. Blonde hardwood floors, shimmery ceiling treatments and walls of giant windows lend the place a light, almost ethereal vibe. High-end amenities include a fully custom Boffi kitchen with a Carrara marble island, a glass-fronted SubZero refrigerator and an attached breakfast room that spills out via French doors to an outdoor dining terrace with fireplace and banquette seating.

The home’s uppermost level features two ensuite guest/family bedrooms and a master suite equipped with a private deck overlooking the city and spa-style bathroom. On the home’s recreation-themed lower levels, Strain has put his custom stamp on things with a large wine closet, a giant library and arcade area, a gym and — naturally — a high-tech gaming area with sport seats and muscular computer hardware.

In the spacious backyard, a classic Old Hollywood-style oval pool is surrounded by a grassy lawn. There’s also a sports court, terraced gardens, and multiple fruit-bearing trees. There’s also a patio with plenty of space for alfresco entertaining, an outdoor kitchen and spa. Picturesque views take in the Downtown L.A. skyline and a wide swath of the adjoining city basin.

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Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain has listed his castle-style Hollywood Hills home for $9.4 million, a $2.55 million loss.