Douglas came to our office in tears. His wife had passed away in hospice care, and he and his fifth-grade son Ty continued to cope with her loss.
When schools closed due to the pandemic, Douglas had continued working days while Ty signed into e-learning at home, but like many children, Ty needed ongoing supervision. Douglas wanted—and knew his wife would have wanted him—to put Ty first, so he left his job even though it meant he would not be able to pay rent. By the time Douglas came to BEDS, he and Ty faced eviction and a bleak future.
BEDS Manager of Stabilization Services Joann Boblick helped Douglas apply for emergency rental assistance through the Illinois Department of Human Services rental assistance program. Several weeks later she got a call in her office from OASH reception saying someone wanted to see her; Douglas walked up with Ty and said, “this is the lady I was telling you about.” Despite social distancing, Ty ran up to her crying and gave her a vicelike hug. They had gotten assistance, and, once Ty returned to school, Douglas was able to resume his job.
With BEDS help, Douglas and Ty were able to stay in their home.
Joann describes how, “This has been a horrible year. But at that moment, I knew that despite the long days, the challenges, and fear, we made a difference. When we stop parents from choosing between their children's wellbeing or housing, we and everyone who supports our mission comes together to protect our neighbors and communities in this hard time.”
Douglas’ story emphasizes the importance of homelessness prevention, whether through homeless agencies like BEDS or communities, counties, states, and federal emergency rental assistance programs. Eviction moratoriums protected families like Douglas’, but they are growing unsustainable. As of the first of this month, less than 7% of federal assistance has reached households at risk of eviction. Some 42 billion dollars remain unspent due to states and communities’ lack of capacity, unclear procedures, application load, outreach difficulties, and/or extensive requirements. At least 15 million people, including 7.6 million children, risk evictions.
You can keep families like Douglas’ in their homes by clicking here.