With rent payments due on the first of the month, some Marshall County residents are struggling to keep up with bills after months of living under changes to rent, mortgage, eviction and other related policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
By 9:40 a.m. on the last Monday of June, Executive Director of Marshall County Christian Services Linda Henry said she had already received 16 calls asking for financial assistance.
“It was just way beyond what we normally would get in a week’s time — we got in one day,” Henry said.
Henry says that when quarantine measures began in March, the main focus of her organization was providing food assistance. Now, with food stamps helping out some residents, the demand has shifted to other areas.
“I’m seeing an increase in the need for financial assistance right now with utilities, rent, even some gasoline,” Henry said.
With new policies during the pandemic like Gov. Kay Ivey's moratorium on evictions, some residents have gotten months behind on making payments for rent and utilities.
“March, April and May during the quarantine is when people —a ll they heard was: ‘you don’t have to pay,’ they didn’t hear ‘you don’t have to pay now,’” Henry said.
“So, they thought it was going to be a forgiven thing and now here in June and the beginning of July they’re past due three months plus the month it’s due and so they’ve been cut off [from utilities] in June.”
The organization can provide financial assistance once every six months, food assistance every other week and vouchers at the change of season for clothes among other types of help.
However, Henry says the small community-based nonprofit is struggling financially to assist with large payments on bills and is relying on individual and church donations at this time.
Since March, Marshall County Christian Services has provided help with food, bills, rent and other pandemic-related support to almost 8,300 families and expects to help many more, according to Henry.
“We’ll continue to provide as long as God continues to provide for us. We’ve been doing this for 20 years and He’s never failed us yet.”
Please visit the Marshall County Christian Services website to donate or to find out how to receive assistance: https://marshall-county-christian-services.business.site/