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MaryBethRN

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How do I fix this mess? I'm having trouble renting a new apartment!
student loan defaults have left me with a POOR (<450) credit score; I have recently consolidated, but can't pay on that either!

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I would go with private, mom-and-pop rentals. Anything offered through a property management company is going to be impossible for you to get into, because most of them require a minimum FICO score of 620-630. Not to mention application fees, ugh. 
Go old school, where you just meet with a landlord (who doesn't run a credit check) in person and impress them with how wonderful you seem to be.

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