Season of Sharing allows server to repair COVID-19 damage

Categories: COMMUNITY CARE: Preventing Homelessness, Season of Sharing, Response and Recovery,

As the onset of the devastating coronavirus pandemic is nearing its one-year mark, Jennifer Godsey is one who is still reeling in the wake of the financial damage she incurred last March.

For Godsey, life trucked along normally until March. By the middle of that month, restaurants were ordered to close on-site dining in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.

The leisure and hospitality industry in the United States became one of the hardest-hit industries. By April, the country’s unemployment rate reached 14.7% – an all-time high in the country’s history of unemployment data, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 23 million people were left without work as the pandemic continued to spread.

Godsey, a 41-year-old Bradenton resident, needed to find help after the government-mandated restaurant shutdowns....

A girlfriend told Godsey about the 211 hotline she could call to find assistance come October. Through talking with her friends, Godsey learned she was not the only one who was facing such financial hardships.

“They just gave me the direction to go,” Godsey said. “It was almost a relief just to have somebody point me in the right direction. Just that little bit helped a lot to know that I could get help.”

The 211 hotline referred Godsey to Turning Points, one of two fiscal agents that process Season of Sharing dollars in Manatee County. She set her alarm for 8:59 that Monday morning, one minute before the week’s rental assistance applications opened online.

Within a few days, Godsey heard from Case Manager Liz Greene and began compiling the documents she needed to show her need for assistance.

“It wasn’t easy by any means. You had to do the work to make sure that you got everything they needed in order to get the assistance,” Godsey said.

Read the full story in the Herald-Tribune