Project Home with Susie SteimleBy Susie Steimle

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Throughout the pandemic we’ve watched healthcare workers protest a lack of personal protective equipment, seen tens of millions of Americans file for unemployment and heard stories from families on the edge who worry their inability to pay rent could cost them their homes.

Jenny Moreno has personally experienced all three of these hardships all while her 25-year-old daughter was sick with COVID-19.

“So that was the hardest part is knowing that you know, I don’t want to lose my daughter. That was the hard part,” Moreno said.

In mid-March Jenny Moreno started having conversations no mother wants to have with her daughter.

“I think we had the conversation about the kids and like where they would go, you know, and that’s not a conversation going how with your kids, you know?” Moreno said.

Both Jenny and her daughter Brianna are healthcare workers who were taking care of COVID-19 positive patients, she says they were never given proper PPE.

“Before everyone knew how bad it was, it was running rampant in the hospitals she (Brianna) was one of the first ones on the front lines to get it,” Moreno said of her daughter testing positive for COVID-19.

A few days later Jenny lost her job, but the bad news didn’t end there.

“Four days after I was let go and having my grandkids for only a week, I found out that I was positive for COVID-19,” she said.

Sick, out of work and unsure of where to turn she filed for unemployment.

“To get them on the phone has been an absolute nightmare,” Moreno said.

Three months later, she still hasn’t seen a dime from the state. Her stimulus check for $1200 barely made a dent and money was getting tight. Jenny’s daughter, grandchildren and son all share a three bedroom apartment in Santa Clara, she was worried they could lose their home next.

“With no source of income coming in whatsoever. you kind of are wondering, you know, what’s going to happen?” Moreno said.

In a Hail Mary attempt to save her home Jenny called 211, that’s how she connected with Steve Sullivan’s organization the Housing Industry Foundation.

“A lot of families in this region and across the country are, you know, one or two paychecks away from being at risk of losing their housing,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Housing Industry Foundation, a homelessness prevention program that offers emergency assistance to families at risk of losing their homes.

During COVID-19 they’ve been overwhelmed.

“Before we even got to the midpoint of the year, we were already at more of the applications than we got all of last year,” Sullivan said.

They’ve had to hit the pause button on accepting additional applications at this time which Sullivan says shows how fragile our housing market is in this region.

“It just kinda shows that if one family member loses a job that can really put a lot of stress on their housing stability,” Sullivan said.

Jenny’s family received the maximum amount from HIF.

“We got $2,500, which was their max amount and that was a big relief,” she said.

The check didn’t exactly make them whole, but it gave them the stability they needed to get healthy again and keep their home.

“It kind of just gave us a ledge to breathe after coming out of something so ugly to have something good, something positive come out of this, it was a blessing truly on us and my family,” Moreno said.

Now that Jenny and Brianna are healthy again she found out she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, Jenny is regularly donating blood to help others who are sick with the virus.

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