Do you need help getting current on your rent or utilities? Do you know someone who is struggling with those costs? If they were impacted directly or indirectly by COVID, meaning they had to take time off work to quarantine, or to do distance learning with their children, or to care for a loved one, or had hours at work reduced, or were laid off because of COVID, we are likely to be able to help.

Sarah, a waitress in a local restaurant, has had her hours significantly cut back, especially between October and February when COVID was at its worst. That set her back and she was unable to pay her rent from November – March. She has been paying what she could but she is facing nearly $5,000 in past due rent and another $150 in fees. When she applied for the program, she wasn’t sure it was designed for her – after all she had been working, just reduced hours. Staff assured her that she is exactly who we hope to be helping (folks who have had a reduction in income or an increase in expenditures due to COVID – folks who are under 80 percent of median income and employed or on unemployment). The program quickly determined her eligibility and paid her landlord the $5,150 in past due rent and because her hours are still reduced, assisted with April’s rent as well. She cried when we told her. She had felt buried under the debt. This provides the fresh start she needed. Her landlord was equally appreciative. Sarah had always been a good tenant and he had not wanted to see her, and her children, lose their housing, but he had costs too. This helped them both stabilize during COVID.

Megan Shreve is the chief executive officer of South Central Community Action Programs Inc. – their mission is to: Empower families and engage the community to pursue innovative and effective solutions to break the cycle of poverty.

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