I can’t believe it’s already been 45 days since shelter in place began and COVID-19 became a household name. As I reflect on this scary, unknowing, twisted, community response I am both overjoyed and overwhelmed. Time for Change Foundation, like many, quickly adapted and focused on how to best care for our clients, our staff, and the community. Forged in Crisis – resiliency and tenacity.
Thanks for the generosity of our many supporters! We were successful in transitioning to work remotely, creating new policies, and ensuring that both staff and clients had the proper protective gear. TFCF answered the call for 19 of our alumni, who suddenly found themselves unemployed and scared that the life they had fought to rebuild was beginning to crumble. We also provided rental assistance, utility assistance and food gift cards. As our intake process changed, just like so many others, we devised a strategy to house people in hotels for the 14- day quarantine period before transitioning women into our existing facilities or those of our community partners. In total, 56 families received a total of $28,000 in emergency support.
In the Bay Area, partnership is so crucial and I would like to personally thank, Root and Rebound, Alameda County Family Defenders, Alameda County Public Defenders, Roots Community Clinic, Impact Justice, Restore Justice for Oakland Youth, Center for Young Women Development and Because Black is Still Beautiful. Together we created a seamless coordination of care that provided the housing, hygiene, food, case management and special needs support to the most vulnerable populations of folks being released from jails/prison with chronic health conditions into communities already plagued with other societal ills such as homelessness, poverty, crime, and drugs. In total 27 families received a total of $13,000 in emergency support.
Creating the COVID-19 Emergency Crisis Relief Fund has enabled us to work every day during this pandemic to support community members fighting to maintain their households, conduct homeschooling, stretch food and resources, and stabilize their families through this crisis. People coming home from prison, exiting emergency shelters, 90-day drug programs, and our homeless seniors are highly vulnerable during this pandemic. Our social safety net has all but disappeared with the shelter in place, closures of public services, and social distancing practices.
It’s really time to STOP – THINK – REIMAGINE how we do this work, partner with other agencies and dismantle those systems whose very DNA is designed to marginalize and perpetuate oppressive conditions.
Community resilience is reminiscent of what our ancestors had to do to survive the middle passage and live during the Jim Crow era or the Native Americans who were robbed of their lands and survived genocidal attempts to destroy their heritage.
COVID-19 has put a magnifying glass over the disparities that already existed in our society. We learned that in times of crisis, people rushed for toilet paper and that our brothers’ and sisters’ (no-collar, blue collar) jobs were important. All it took was a pandemic for us to see that the REAL, ESSENTIAL workers to America’s way of life are our warehouse workers at Amazon, our cashiers at Wal Mart, our truck drivers, and janitors at hospitals. Yes, our CNA’s at nursing facilities, cashiers at drive thru fast food places are people who America needed in addition to our medical field.
It is the courage of these essential workers that was forged in crisis. So I say, let’s talk about the needs of these individuals – paid family leave, housing that is affordable for folks whose earning less than $20.00/hour, and hazard pay for putting their lives on the line in order provide essential services for the rest of us. It’s time to elevate and celebrate America’s Essential Workers and ensure that living wages amongst other things become a reality.
If we can envision a just society, one without gender norms, cultural divide, or health disparities – we can actually see a future where everyone has access to whatever they need in order to become the best version of themselves. Time for Change Foundation is looking forward to doing its part to recreate and reimagine.
Kim Carter, Founder/Ambassador
Time for Change Foundation