Quantifying pain

Tracking the pandemic’s other victims

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 1/6/21

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — We know it’s not just about the people sickened, or about the hundreds of thousands dead in the U.S. alone.

The story of COVID-19 is also about the jobs lost and …

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Quantifying pain

Tracking the pandemic’s other victims

Posted

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — We know it’s not just about the people sickened, or about the hundreds of thousands dead in the U.S. alone.

The story of COVID-19 is also about the jobs lost and homes foreclosed upon. Evictions are looming, despite the state’s newly extended moratorium. There are people working hard behind the scenes to make sure the hungry have enough to eat, that the cold are kept warm and that the elderly and disabled, living at home or in care, are safe and looked after.

One way to tell that story is to collect the numbers and show how they’ve changed, both by month and year over year. 

Here are your neighbors, your friends. Here are strangers, suffering. 

There are so many more people out there to talk to—so much more information to collect. This is just a beginning.

Numbers relate to Sullivan County unless stated otherwise.

Evictions and foreclosures

On December 28, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act, giving those in danger of losing their home some breathing space until May 1. 

This applies to tenants who have experienced COVID-19-related hardship. They have 60 days to submit a document explaining the source of the hardship. 

Landlords can evict tenants who are creating safety or health hazards for other tenants. 

Keep in mind that rent money is still owed.

Homeowners and landlords who own fewer than 10 dwellings also have 60 days to file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party or with the court. 

Reportedly, there are thousands of evictions or foreclosures statewide ready to go as soon as courts are allowed to process them. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey found 20 percent of New York homes are facing eviction or foreclosure; in Pennsylvania, it’s 22 percent.

A couple of notes: 

We did our best to make sure that categories were the same. For instance, meals are also delivered to people in congregate care (like treatment facilities), but we stayed with the homebound. 

At the moment, our source is the hard-working staff at the Sullivan County Government Center, but the plan is to expand it to include those working on the front lines with the homeless, the addicted, those who run small-town meal delivery programs or feed others from food pantries. 

What figures would help? What would you like to see? 

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