The COVID-19 crises is a double-whammy the likes of which I’ve never seen in my life, and I’ve been around a while. Not only have tens of thousands of people across the country died from the virus, but millions of people have lost their jobs and are struggling mightily to get by.
Luckily in Douglas County no one has died yet, but thousands of people are jobless and doing whatever they can to make ends meet.
One such person is Mylissa Hall. I read her Facebook post this week and could not get it out of my mind:
“I know this is probably the situation for quite a few people during this hard time of covid-19 but I’m a single mother of my 1 year old son and I have been furloughed from my job at Kendall Chevrolet I am a lube technician there and I just spoke to my boss and I was informed that they will be starting to allow people to come back to work within the next month. However I have no money at this moment I am not asking for a hand out from anyone. I work for my money, so if anyone needs oil changes or spark plugs things of that nature or even just car washes I don’t particularly care what the work is at this point I just need an income to hold my son and I over until I return to work. I have applied for unemployment (haven’t received payment yet) and I have not received my stimulus check yet either. Please let me know if you need any work done I would be happy to help out! “
I reached out to Mylissa and she filled in a few more details of her situation.
She is 21, and moved to Roseburg 1 ½ years ago from Arizona, where she earned a diploma from an automotive school. In late February she got a full-time job working at Kendall Chevrolet in Eugene, doing lube work and changing oil. However, when COVID-19 hit the work slowed down, from changing oil for 30 cars a day to about a dozen.
Due to that shortage of work, on March 26 she was one of a half-dozen employees put on indefinite furlough. “Stuff happens,” she said of the furlough. “I’m just ready to get back to work. This is what I love to do, it’s my hobby and my job.”
Hall lives with family so her rent is low but her necessary expenses aren’t — namely water and power bills, her car, car insurance, cell phone and Internet bills, and most importantly food, diapers and clothing for her son, Jaydyn.
As the Facebook post says, Hall has filled out all the online forms for her stimulus check and unemployment insurance, but hasn’t seen either yet. She said she’s tried to get in touch with the IRS and the Oregon Employment Department repeatedly but with no luck.
Both agencies have acknowledged they’ve been deluged with people trying to get information on their funds.
“It’s a hard situation to deal with,” Hall said. “I’ve been told many different things from many different people.”
Hall said she wants to earn whatever money she can — “I don’t like to take handouts” — so she posted her plight online, hoping she could drum up some work.
“My struggle right now is I’m a 21-year-old single mother trying to make sure my kid is taken care of,” Hall said.
The owner of Kendall Chevrolet told Hall that they planned to start bringing furloughed workers back sometime next month, depending on business, although exactly when is unclear. Other than that Hall said she’s “in the dark on everything.”
She has enough money for her and her son to last a week or so. She’s hoping that she gets the money coming to her from her stimulus check or unemployment insurance before her meager savings runs out.
“I honestly have no idea what I’ll do,” Hall said. “I’m trying to do what I can to survive.”