Jacqueline Slade, of Highland Park, and Camille Morris, of Detroit, are just two of the more than 12,500 people in Wayne County to date who have received critical financial support from Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program.
Slade was suffering multiple health issues when the pandemic set in. Already battling a
herniated disc in her back, she was then admitted to the hospital with ulcers, and her doctor ordered bedrest for a month on March 11, 2020 – just days before the stay-at-home order was issued by the state.
“My doctor wasn’t seeing anyone until May, so I couldn’t get the work release I needed from him,” Slade said, adding that she lost her job as a result and was denied unemployment benefits. “I was so worried – I didn’t know what was happening with my income. I was behind in my rent. I didn’t know if I was going to be put out.”
Morris lost her job as a janitor as a result of the pandemic, and her unemployment benefits got off track.
“It was very traumatizing; I was anxiety-ridden not knowing how to pay the rent and if I was going to receive any help,” Morris said.
Slade was able to get by thanks to loans her sister, her daughter and friends, but the financial support available to her was running out. When the CERA program was launched, Slade found the help she needed to move forward.
“(Wayne Metro) took a weight off me that was bearing down on me,” Slade said. “I don’t ever want to get behind in my bills again.”
Morris was also relieved when CERA came through for her.
“I was ecstatic,” she said. “This puts me in a very good mindset for the future.”
Wayne Metro is working hard to keep Wayne County residents in their homes through the CERA program and help alleviate some of the financial burden renters are carrying as a result of this difficult year. In the last week alone, Wayne Metro distributed $7.1 million in funds to Wayne County residents in desperate need.