The Cost of Getting Sick 

Posted on September 20, 2018

Elena* was an hourly employee without access to paid sick time. When she went to her doctor with a skin problem, she was dismayed to find out that it was a contagious disease that would keep her out of work for a week. It was a huge loss of income, and there was no way she could pay all of her bills.

She had a housing voucher which helped with her rent, but if she didn't pay her portion of rent she would lose her housing and her voucher. She needed to ask her landlord for help, but she didn't know how to have such a difficult conversation. Her Navigator coached her on how to talk with her landlord about her circumstances. Elena needed more time to get assistance with her rent, so her Navigator gave her a template to work out a written payment agreement with the landlord based on the next time she got paid.

Next, she helped her apply for rent assistance with two local nonprofits, both of which were able to assist her, covering her rent for the next two months. With her housing secured, she was able to focus at work during a stressful time, keep her job, and keep her head above water. She was not late on her other bills. With her emergency resolved, she continued meeting with her Navigator to talk about creating a savings account and slowly contributing to it so that when she has an emergency, she has some money to fall back on.

Topics: financial stability, housing, grants & loans, healthcare,


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*Names have been changed to preserve employee confidentiality