Carmen has lived on the Cape for 11 years, originally in Eastham, but has settled with her family—three children and a grandchild—in Harwich. Carmen has always worked providing homemaking, cooking, light cleaning, and general “looking after” for elderly clients but also had a housekeeping position in a local hotel. The housekeeping job disappeared when COVID hit as did many of her elderly client jobs. No-one wanted anyone in their home. She managed to hold on to ten hours a week, but it was a far cry from a full-time homemaking position and the housekeeping job income.
After being home-schooled for a year, her teenage daughter has just started back at school. Her 18-month-old son has Down Syndrome so needs special care that can be costly. She was extremely careful not to bring the virus home.
With the lack of income, the family got behind on their electric bill—which included heat—and they were heading towards $1,000 that was impossible to pay. Carmen was worried they would shut the electricity off. She had been paying towards it every week but could not make a dent. She had originally heard about Lower Cape Outreach Council from her son’s early intervention program last year and decided to reach out to them. “They are so good; they have helped me before, paying rent one time when I was struggling. It takes away some pride to call them, but they are so happy to help. Very thankful to have them here. If not for them, I believe our electricity would have been shut off and I cannot risk that with my son and my grandbaby here. I was happy to give back in some small way, by telling my story,” Carmen said.
Carmen has gotten her homemaking hours back up to 30 hours most weeks, but still misses the additional income from a hotel job. She is grateful that her electric bill is back to zero, warmer weather is coming and that, as things open around the Cape, she will be able to work for a local hotel in addition to her elderly clients.
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