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LATEST NEWS AND STORIES
Communities like the 24:1 Community in North St. Louis County are the hardest hit in a crisis such as this one. They're also the last to recover. Below is a handful of the latest news and personal stories resulting from the current crisis in North St. Louis County due to COVID-19.
Small businesses play a critical role in the transformation of underserved communities like those that Beyond Housing serves in North St. Louis County. They are essential for the economic development of these communities—something that is critical for these communities’ future growth and success.
Housing nonprofits like Beyond Housing in St. Louis and LA Family Housing in Los Angeles are continuing to support their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic — while also pivoting their focuses to meet the immediate needs.
“Hello! Hello!” she frantically yelled out, trying to get my attention. “Are you open today and do you have any food left?” she asked as I walked over to my window and looked out. With a look of desperation, she explained that she was a senior and her family had missed the food distribution. They were hungry and had nothing to eat.
Going into the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 1,400 businesses across the 24:1 Community—an area comprised of multiple municipalities within the Normandy schools footprint in North St. Louis County. The local economy relies on businesses like these to stimulate economic development. Many were built with the owners’ savings and personal resources instead of bank loans—which makes it harder for them to get help from the federal bailout programs now.
“These are entrepreneurs who had an idea and put their blood, sweat, tears, and talent into starting these businesses that were up and running,” said Chris Krehmeyer, CEO of Beyond Housing.
Children are the primary focus of this woman’s world. She is a dedicated second-grade teacher for the Normandy school district. In addition to being like a second mom to her students, she also has two children of her own, ages eight and twelve.
There are two distinct worlds within the St. Louis region and elsewhere across our country. Up until now they at least shared some similarities. Now during the coronavirus pandemic, the likenesses seem all but gone.
A woman in the community that we serve has been unable to work due to a severe leg injury. She has utilized Beyond Housing’s Emergency Match Savings Program to build up savings to pay for her medical bills. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her income has been depleted and she has been forced to use some of her savings to buy food and household cleaning supplies.
A woman we know in the community works at one of the local hospitals in the storage facility. When an item is requested from storage by one of the doctors or nurses, the woman and her team are required to obtain the item and deliver it to the floor where it was requested. The woman and her team are not issued any personal protective equipment because it is being reserved for the doctors and nurses. She is worried about contracting the virus and passing it to her daughter. Because of this, she is having someone else care for her daughter, which has dramatically increased her childcare expenses.
A woman in one of our affordable rental homes is a mother of four, with her youngest just eleven-months old. She has been working two jobs to make ends meet. She was recently injured at one of her jobs and her employer said they can no longer accommodate her light-duty status. Now her other employer has said they are having trouble accommodating her as well.
On Saturday, March 30th, we held our first drive-thru food distribution scheduled for 11a.m.–1p.m. By 9a.m., a line of cars had already assembled. At 10:20, the line was so long that we decided to open the gates and begin the distribution.
A pregnant woman expecting her first child recently had to stop working because she and her baby are at high risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. She will be furloughed for the next eight weeks and is afraid of not being able to pay her bills.
She has been referred to unemployment insurance and the Family Support Division for food stamps. In the meantime, she has little to no savings to rely on and is scared about her and her baby’s well-being.
There is an adult male who suffers from sickle cell disease. Because he is immunocompromised, he is unable to get out for food and necessities. His mother came to Beyond Housing’s food distribution on Saturday, March 30th to get meals for her son and his family.
This single mother of three teenagers has a job she loves in food service at a senior retirement center, but it does not pay a living wage. She has been struggling for some time with her bills and expenses to feed her family.
In addition, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery at the beginning of March.
This mother of two works for a restaurant that specializes in events. Because all events have been cancelled, she is no longer working. She does not know if she is going to be able to pay her rent. Her children, ages fifteen and fourteen, are healthy eaters and food is now a big concern.
She is badly in need of household cleaning supplies and toiletries. She applied for utility assistance through her provider but was denied because she did not meet the income requirements.
So far, she has been relying on help from family. Like many of the low-income individuals who work in the service industry, the coronavirus pandemic has put her in a dire position with little to no savings to fall back on.
We recently learned about a single mother who works for a health care provider of supportive programs and care for adults and children living with disabilities ranging from autism to cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, and others.
This woman was laid off from her job last June. After many difficult months looking for work, she found a temp job in January. Things were looking up for her. She was doing well in her job and was about to go full-time just before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Because of the pandemic she has been sent home until further notice. She was already trying to catch up on her monthly rent and now is worried she is going to fall further behind. She has a son, a high school senior who is planning on going to college this fall.
Prior to the pandemic, this mother of four was behind on her rent due to her being unable to work for a period of time due to a foot injury. She is having trouble feeding her family and is relying on local food pantries and food distribution for help.
There is an elderly woman who works at a company scheduling job interviews for potential new hires. Since the stay-at-home order, she is now working from home. But with very few job interviews taking place, she is afraid she will be laid off and doesn’t know how she will make ends meet.
In December of 2019, this mother of three was blessed with a new home through Beyond Housing after living in deplorable conditions under a previous slumlord. Things were looking up for her and her family and they were excited about their future, until now.
This woman, age sixty-one, was a twenty-year resident of Beyond Housing’s affordable rental homes. After working with our Financial Advisement Department and one of our Resource Specialists, in early March of this year she finally achieved her dream of owning her own home. With moving costs and trouble earning her full income, the pandemic has put this dream in jeopardy. She is struggling to make ends meet and is relying on local food pantries and other assistance.
With schools and businesses closed, a man who works as a taxi driver has lost his income and is struggling with how he will get through the next several weeks.
This woman was achieving great success on her job and was recently promoted. Due to COVID-19 she is now furloughed and doesn’t know when she will return.
She lives in one of Beyond Housing’s affordable rental homes. She recently called to speak with her Housing Resource Coordinator because she is anxious and afraid. Her Housing Resource Coordinator was able to provide some comfort and assure her that we are here for her.
She is worried about losing her job. She also fears that, with no current income, she won’t be able to pay her rent or buy her asthma medication.