The past two years have changed all our lives. For some the loss went beyond jobs or the freedom to shop without a mask. For these two families, they lost precious family members and nearly lost their housing as a result.
Tameisha lost her son in 2020 to COVID-19. I remember thinking to myself - she is in her 40’s like me, and that her children and my children were probably close in age. It was early in the pandemic and most of the information seemed to suggest young people in their 20’s would be fine. Her son was not fine. It was clear no one’s child was safe. She was not prepared to bury her son and found herself in a deep depression. She had to get help but doing so meant she needed to take time off work and eventually fell behind on rent. Just as she was beginning to be able to face living again, she found herself and her children at risk of becoming homeless. Talking with her made me painfully aware just how strong mothers must be. She had to face the loss of her son. She had to face the stigma of depression and seeking help. She had to go back to work to provide for her other children. Then, she still had to deal with a potential eviction. Although we never met, I was relieved to know BEDS would help get her rent caught up and utilities paid.
Grace and Noel came to United States 15 years ago. They worked hard and had one child, a ten-year-old son. In June 2020, Noel came down with a cough and soon the whole family was diagnosed with COVID-19. Within a month, Noel, only 35 years old, would die after his lungs and kidneys failed. Grace was hospitalized too but recovered. She lost her job during the time she was sick, but quickly found a new one. Still, she was behind on rent. A widow and an orphan were facing eviction. The school social worker BEDS called right before Christmas. For over 5 months, Grace had been doing everting she could do to pay the money she owed and was failing. She had kept it all a secret, but fearful of the eviction moratorium ending, she told one of the social workers at the school. By the new year, Grace was caught up.
As we enter another year of COVID-19, please do not forget the lives that will never be the same. In the US, 1 out of every 4 COVID-19 related deaths results in a child losing a caregiver. These children will face challenges for years to come, including threats to their housing stability. Parents that thought they would be watching their children graduate this year and now visiting their graves instead. Tamesha and Grace are working again, supporting their families as best they can, but if they need us, we will be there. Through your support, we were able to help families like these early on – before the government programs got off the ground and with your continued support, we will continue to support families well into the future.