I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my life, but the pandemic was the first time that I felt like I couldn’t keep on cycling. It was only thanks to the Excluded Workers Fund that I made it through. The fund, established earlier this year to help working families like mine who weren’t eligible for pandemic relief programs, has been life changing. Now, as state lawmakers head into a new budget season, it’s critical that they expand the fund further so that all people who are able to apply can get the funding they need.
My story resembles that of many other working people whose lives were turned upside down by COVID-19. Before the pandemic, my son, the main breadwinner in our family, was taken by ICE, leaving his wife and my two granddaughters. I was left supporting our family on my one source of income, folding clothes at a laundromat in my neighborhood. Then the pandemic began sweeping through our neighborhood and we all fell sick with COVID. I was laid off from my job. We lost our only hope at a steady source of income.