Bill moved to Florida ten months ago. He needed to get a job, but he had a few barriers to employment. He was an older worker and had no transportation to get to work other than his bicycle. Bill noticed that a Goodwill store was nearby the apartment he was renting. Bill applied there and got a job, working at an Attended Donation Center.
Bill enjoyed his job. Everything was going smoothly at his new home in Florida until he began hearing about something called “COVID-19.” He heard that the Governor was planning to close non-essential services. Then, this past March, Bill –along with myriads of other people across the nation--had to leave his job and go on furlough.
Bill did not have much time off accrued and did not know how he would eat or pay his rent. Goodwill had provided him with directions for going online to apply for reemployment benefits and Bill decided that would be his best course of action. A week later, he received a notice that he would not be eligible for these benefits. This information did not make sense to Bill because he knew he WAS eligible. Then, he heard that 40% of the people who had applied had a similar experience. Florida’s re-employment system was overwhelmed and Bill was going to need to re-apply. In the meantime, his cupboards were empty, the rent payment was overdue, and Bill was running very low on a medication he needed to take.
Unexpectedly, Shirley, one of Goodwill’s GoodPartner Coaches called just to see how Bill was doing. Bill was elated to get her call. He told Shirley about the problem with re-employment. He also told her that he was now behind on rent and he had no idea how he was going to pay for a refill on the medication he needed.
Bill was not sure how to appeal the ineligibility decision for reemployment benefits and he did not have transportation to get to Shirley’s office. Bill and Shirley spent three-hours on the phone together working to register Bill with Employ Florida. Once the registration was complete, his status with re-employment benefits changed from “ineligible” to “pending. “
Then, Shirley assisted Bill with requesting Season of Sharing Funds through the Community Foundation for his rent. This task took time because numerous documents were required and needed to be emailed. Both Shirley and Bill needed to coordinate with Bill’s landlord, as well. It took a few weeks and some patience on the part of his landlord, but Bill got approved to receive the funds he needed to cover his overdue rent payment.
The next hurdle was to assist Bill with getting his medication refilled. Shirley advised Bill to contact the pharmacy where he usually got his prescriptions filled and to ask if they could assist him. Bill phoned back to his Coach within minutes, stating that the person he spoke with at the pharmacy said they would cover the cost of this month’s prescription. Bill was overjoyed. He thanked Shirley. With Shirley’s help, Bill had managed to get the resources he had been frustrated by and worried about for a month. In a matter of days, Bill was able to reapply for re-employment benefits, get assistance with Season of Sharing Funds so he could pay his rent and get his prescription filled. Bill is glad that Goodwill provided him with assistance from an expert on community resources-- just when he needed it. It’s what we do . . .