TAMPA, Fla — In a world where so many of us are hustling to work and providing for our families, COVID-19 brought things to a halt.
With many businesses suffering and people working from home or in quarantine, the real estate database Zillow reports that women more than men were left without jobs and at risk of homelessness.
In Tampa Bay, Christine Long, chief programs officer with Metropolitan Ministries, says she’s seen that reality firsthand.
“It’s been kind of disturbing as single women have lost their jobs in greater numbers, and then, of course, they have their children and issues with childcare and virtual school,” Long said.
Thanks to CARES Act funding, Metropolitan Ministries has helped distribute nearly $2 million worth of rent and utility assistance to families, including single and working moms, since the pandemic began.
“We’re trying to help them stay in their apartments, right where they are,” Long said. “We are encouraging folks to do that as early as possible to avoid evictions coming in the near future so they can stay in their neighborhoods and communities.”
At the height of the pandemic in May, Zillow said data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau shows unemployment claims for women were 10 times higher than what men experienced during the 2008 financial crisis.
With schools going virtual and childcare centers closed, working moms were 3 times more likely than working fathers to cite childcare as the main reason they were out of work.
“We know the need is really just beginning as more and more households are coming close to evictions, and a lot of those are single moms. They had only one income in their household to start with,” Long said.
Now, as more people start going back to work, Metropolitan Ministries says it will continue to help these families for as long as possible.
“We’re expecting to support families in the Tampa Bay area by about $600,000 in the next six months. With our online system, we are able to reach the far reaches of our community and we welcome all folks in the Tampa Bay region," Long said.
Metropolitan Ministries is gearing up to help families during the holidays with locations available in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas.