NYC 2020 Story 3

The close-knit Alverez family consists of Ralph, a driver for a medical transportation company, his wife Elsa, their three children, and Elsa’s mother. The members of this multi-generational household have always supported one another through good times and bad. With help from The Bridge Fund and despite the pandemic, they have remained closer than ever.

Last March, Ralph, Elsa, a home care attendant, and their eldest son Johnny, all saw their work hours significantly reduced. Then came the real blow: Johnny tested positive for COVID-19, and the whole family was put into quarantine. Things quickly got worse. The grandmother got sick, then one by one everyone except Ralph came down with COVID. Their quarantine ended up lasting three months.

“I felt horrible and depressed when everyone was knocked down with illness,” Elsa recalls. With no one working, the family started to get behind on rent. Then came a Court notice. “It was the first time ever we got one; we had always paid on time. I was frightened,” Elsa added.

Fortunately, the family was referred to The Bridge Fund by Housing Court Answers, and the program quickly assessed their situation. With their quarantine over, Ralph, Elsa and Johnny were now working more hours and earning enough. It made sense to pay a portion of their $4,143 rental arrears to stabilize them in their rent-regulated apartment. The Bridge Fund provided a little more than $2,600, and the household paid the remainder. Currently, The Bridge Fund is also providing budget counseling, which Elsa welcomes, noting that “right now everything is back on track. Thank God.”

Elsa and her family have come through an incredibly difficult year. Now their daughter will be a high school sophomore in the fall, and 18-year-old son Pedro, who just graduated, is planning to start college. If they had lost their home who knows if this would have been possible!

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