When the world seemed to stop, a newborn arrived.
Sound familiar? Many of us know a family member or friend who welcomed someone new during the pandemic. Babies are undoubtedly a financial adjustment, but especially during a time of record unemployment.
For Sarah and her husband, it was a domino effect of life changes that left them in a lurch. First COVID-19 hit, then they welcomed a new member of their family (they already had an 18-month–old) and shortly after, they both lost their source of income. Due to her husband’s immigrant status, collecting unemployment wasn’t an option.
Thankfully, her husband was able to pick up a job a few months later, but their hopes were dashed when he started experiencing severe migraines from wearing a mask all day. It turned out, the job just wasn’t sustainable for him.
That’s when Sarah saw a yellow flyer that read “Community Resource Center of Teton Valley.” She was blown away that a resource like ours existed in such a small area.
“We went to the food bank at the center first. I was like, ‘Wow, this is great!’ Then they asked me if we had applied for financial assistance yet,” said Sarah.
Our case manager outlined the documents needed for our in-house Quality of Life Financial Assistance Program, which provided assistance with their current month’s rent. She went on to connect Sarah to additional resources in the area and helped her complete an application for rent assistance through Idaho Housing and Finance Association. They qualified for four months of rental assistance, and other means of support, and gradually her family’s finances started to stabilize.
“I never felt alone or like we weren’t going to make it. The [Community Resource Center] are the heroes of the pandemic. They were constantly working hard to keep us all afloat…there every step of the way.”
Sarah, CRC Client
When Chelsea** came in to the CRCTV, she was riddled with shame and guilt, as this kind of situation was not where she envisioned finding herself. She was worried about losing her rental and having her electricity disconnected due to lack of payment. She had no idea what help existed but hoped to find out when she reached out to the CRCTV.We worked with Chelsea to fill out an application for energy assistance and paid for part of the existing balance to ensure that her family would continue to have heat. Through our Quality of Life Program, we were able to pay for a large portion of the previous month’s rent to prevent eviction and a second displacement in under a year. Additionally, we encouraged her to take advantage of our Food Rescue Program to offset food costs, got the children signed up for Toys for Tots, and provided a needed legal referral. Chelsea’s situation is still challenging, but she reports that things are definitely looking up. She is back to work and things are slowly getting caught up and back to normal, an accomplishment we are proud to hear of.
**Name changed for privacy
Having to miss work made for far less income, and for the first time ever, Ashley and her husband found themselves struggling to pay their basic household bills. Ashley reached out to The Community Resource Center, not knowing where else to turn. We were able to help Ashley apply to a special fund for women with cancer, which subsequently paid her electric and propane bills for the month.
Additionally, the Community Resource Center was able to purchase insulin for Ashley, a medication that is crucial in managing her Type 1 diabetes. With this help, Ashley’s skies became a bit sunnier. She and her husband were able to regain hope and focus on beating her cancer!
**Name changed for privacy
Together, we reviewed our online Teton Valley Job Inventory and found a couple of listings for which he was well-qualified. With application assistance and a bit of encouragement, Charles reached out to a potential employer and quickly landed a job! Meanwhile, the CRCTV assisted him with applying for Energy Assistance to alleviate a portion of his large, overdue electric bill, supplied him with food from our Food Rescue Program, and purchased him a tank of gas to get to his new job the next week.
We followed up with Charles a few weeks later and he told us, “You know, at 61 I wasn’t looking for a new direction, but this has turned out pretty good!” We feel fortunate to have helped Charles carve out a new path.