SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A record number of Californians are filing for unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Normally, the state sees 2,000 unemployment insurance applications a day. Governor Gavin Newsom said it received a record 150,000 on Monday. In all, 1.6 million Californians have applied.
“I’m feeling really scared, I feel like humanity and society right now is kind of in this–it’s almost like you’re driving through really, really thick fog, and you can only see like five feet in front of you,” said Fiona Carty of San Francisco.
Carty filed for unemployment for the first time Monday. She worked as a designer for the popular San Francisco-based drink shop Boba Guys. The owners laid off 400 employees and temporarily closed down all 17 locations across California and New York.
“I won’t really know how to cover rent after May, and were supposed to be quarantined until May, so that’s going to be interesting,” she added.
In 26 states including California, governors have imposed a temporary pause on evictions or foreclosures for some or all residents.
“I think that not a lot of people within this period of time of not working are going to be able to make back three months rent, whenever they’re able to start working, so that’s accumulated debt,” said Carty.
Demand for Calfresh, the state’s food stamp program, has also surged across the state. In San Francisco, 300 people are applying each day–double the typical weekday average.
Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose says it’s seeing hundreds of new faces lining up for free food.
“We’re seeing folks who were on the borderline. Now with losing jobs, losing hours, not having child care, really being pushed to the brink,” said Demone Carter, Director of Community Engagement at Sacred Heart Community Service.
The organization announced an $11 million COVID-19 fund to give checks to struggling residents. In its first three days, it received 4,500 applications. The fund is maxed out and now, there’s a wait list.
“It’s just a small start, but we’re trying to help those families make sure they can maintain housing,” said Carter.