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Oakland resident Sofia and her husband lost their jobs in the beginning of the year due to the stay-at-home order, their savings were quickly depleting as they struggled to cover their housing and other basic living expenses. 

“We quickly had no money for food or rent. Our two children were depending on us,” said Sofia.  “Despite the eviction moratorium, I had pressure from the landlord to pay the rent and I was constantly stressed on how we were going to come up with the money.”

In June, Sofia was behind three months of rent and with each passing day, she continued to lose hope. If she wasn’t online looking for direct relief, she prayed to have the strength to emotionally get through this financial nightmare for the sake of her children, ages 12 and 14.  

Through the help of her church, Sofia came across information about The Unity Council’s cash assistance program offered to individuals financially impacted by Covid-19. Once she learned about TUC, she immediately applied online and within a few days, Sofia was contacted by staff and was assured she would receive financial relief. 

Shortly after, Sofia and her husband tested positive for Covid-19. 

The couple went into quarantine for two weeks while their children temporarily stayed with family. She feared for the health of her husband who is diabetic and considered high-risk. Sofia admits at one point, their symptoms took a turn for the worst and she thought the virus would end their lives.  

Within three weeks from submitting her request for assistance, Sofia received notification from our staff confirming through our Partnership with Keep Oakland Housed and Bay Area Community Services, she received a mini-grant that would cover the four months of rent through the end of July and the funds would go directly to her landlord. As an active member of Keep Oakland housed, TUC was able to connect her to additional programs including legal representation, emergency financial assistance, and supportive services. 

 “This has been a big relief and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Sofia. “Everyone at The Unity Council are angels.” Sofia and her husband recovered from Covid-19, and are feeling grateful to have her children back home once again. They are still lethargic and experiencing shortness of breath, she is in better spirits. 

“My family is healthy once again and my stress, my fears of being kicked out of our home are now gone,” said Sofia. “My family can eat rice and beans everyday until I find a job, but I am happy to know that because of The Unity Council, we still have a roof over our heads.” 

Beyond being amazed with the services received from TUC, Sofia plans to reach out in hopes of seeking a new job through The Unity Council’s Fruitvale Neighborhood Career and Resource Center.  

Big thanks to Keep Oakland Housed and Bay Area Community Services for our partnership to prevent displacement and homelessness for Oakland residents. 

The client featured in this story were given a pseudonym to protect their privacy.