Most Needed Case Fund
When something unexpected happened, finances grew and parents needed help to catch up.
More than a year after the pandemic broke out, Melicia Huggins hit a wall.
Huggins, a science teacher at the Midwood Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, felt that his financial base had collapsed while the second wave of the coronavirus was eased and optimism grew in New York City. ..
“Suddenly, the pandemic really tied everything,” Huggins said.
In addition to teaching, Huggins, 40, worked in an after-school day care job and earned $ 75 a day. However, the revenue became more sporadic as the program had to coordinate operations due to the virus. And the house she was working to find for her family was at stake.
For more than four years before moving, Huggins, his son, and his mother lived with family and church acquaintances. Huggins helped the three and at the same time adjusted the student loan debt and tuition for his son Ethan, 11,.
The flow changed when Mr. Huggins applied for and approved an affordable apartment through the city’s residential lottery in 2018. They settled in Queens, Jamaica and were able to repay some debt.
But when her credible income changed, Huggins, 40, fell into a rent delinquency.
“Did I try to find out where to go? Where are you going to make money together?” She said.
Through her real estate manager, Mr. Huggins has connected with the New York Times’ most needed fund beneficiary, the Community Services Society. In May, the Community Service Society used $ 2,853, including $ 500 from The Fund, to pay Huggins’ three-month rent delinquency and provide some relief.
“It will show you that there are still good people out there,” Huggins said. “I was able to save my apartment.”
In addition to working at the Academy, Huggins works 12 hours a week as a customer service representative at the Long Island Home Depot, paying for gas and internet and providing pocket money to Ethan.
Her goal is to become a city-certified teacher who offers a higher salary than her current teaching profession and to be able to buy her son’s dream home.
“That’s why I’m really trying to reach that goal in all these places,” she said. “Why shouldn’t he have it?”
Huggins’ household is only one of the hundreds of thousands of New York City rents that were stagnant by the summer.
Two mothers, Alexandra Gil, also received rent assistance for an apartment in New York City. This need arose when I was taking care of my son with Down Syndrome, who was recovering from a bone marrow transplant, the latest medical challenge he had faced for a long time since he was born in 2010.
“As soon as one thing was over, another began,” said Gil, 48, from Bronx.
Gil’s son, Pedro, was born with a heart defect and had to spend several months in the intensive care unit before undergoing surgery in infancy. In addition, her husband died in 2010. This loss was offset by Gil’s own health problems: a malignant tumor of the stomach and a diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
The trouble didn’t seem to be overcome. “I didn’t think I could do that,” said Gil, who was taking care of her eldest daughter.
Unable to work because of treatment, Gil and her children moved to their mother’s one-bedroom apartment in Bronx. Her mother took care of Gil and her daughter Alexa, and Gil took care of Pedro.
“I didn’t have to ask for help so far. I didn’t know anything about getting help,” said Gil, who searched online and found that she and Pedro were eligible for help for the disabled. Told. Gil saved these checks to pay for the three-person apartment he moved to in 2014. She supported her family with the help of a supplemental nutrition support program.
When Pedro got sick again, Gil was still being treated for her cancer. From January 2015 to 2017, Pedro was treated for leukemia at the Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York. Pedro’s caseworker there not only helped Gil apply for more public support, but also emotionally supported her throughout the period of suffering.
“The only thing I had to worry about when I was in the hospital was Pedro’s health,” Gil said. “They helped with everything else.”
When Gil was delinquent in rent in the summer of 2020, it was Pedro’s caseworker who contacted YM & YWHA in Washington Heights and Inwood, a community service center. Gil was taking care of Pedro, who had a recurrence in 2019 and needed multiple doses of chemotherapy. He received a bone marrow transplant in January 2020.
Washington Heights Y pays three months’ rent for Gil in October 2020 using a $ 2,932 fund received from the New York Times’ most needed case fund beneficiary, the UJA Federation in New York. I did.
Today, Gil is studying to become a nursing assistant and Pedro is back in school. “I want other families to know that help is there,” Gil said.
Donations to The Neediest Cases Fund can be made online or by check.