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Woman with colon cancer living out of car blames Knoxville housing crisis

Janet Hunter lives with her dependent son in their Acura MDX in a Hardee’s parking lot because they cannot afford a home or apartment.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Over a year ago on Mother’s day, Janet Hunter’s husband died, leaving her in their home that she couldn’t afford, and caring for their dependent son with a heart condition and learning disability.

In a few short months, Hunter lost her home, and almost all of her belongings, leaving her and her grown son looking for a place to lay their heads at night.

”Everywhere that ain’t nailed down, I’ve been in the city outside the city anywhere in the surrounding area,” said Hunter.

The city of Knoxville alone saw more than 10,000 people move to town in the past decade, putting a strain on the city’s market for both homes and apartments.

As a result, Hunter, who is fighting colon cancer, and her son are living in their Acura in a Hardee’s parking lot.

”Cramped up in a car where you cant stretch your legs out, I’m not young, I’m not healthy it’s been miserable,” said Hunter.

Getting permission from the corporate office of Hardee’s to stay behind their store, Hunter says she’s exhausted almost every avenue she can think of to find somewhere to live.

”I either don’t make enough money or I make too much money, I’m too young, I’m too old, I’m getting knocked around anyone I talk to,” said Hunter.

While she struggles with her fight against a terminal illness, she also struggles with finding somewhere safe, comfortable and reliable to live.

”I won’t survive if I’m still in a car. I have no meat on my bones, my body has eaten all of the muscle and fat in my body,” said Hunter.

She isn’t asking for money, but an idea of where to turn to next, an avenue that allows her to get her medical treatment and somewhere she and her son can go together.

”Honey, I’ll live anywhere that’s got a roof on it. I’m not picky if I can just get somewhere with a roof on it so I can get some help,” said Hunter.

If you would like to help Janet Hunter, reach out to Will Puckett at william.puckett@wvlt-tv.com and he will get you in contact to help.

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