Covid-19 has brought about a new set of challenges for our youth. As young adults, they work primarily in the retail and restaurant industries and so were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. CLNY made the conscious and early decision that if our role is to be fully supportive, then we needed to temporarily alter our model of promoting and nurturing independence and instead offer more direct financial assistance for our young people. We had a special fundraising effort for Covid 19 funds, committing 100% of these funds directly to our youth. This Covid Emergency Fund was crucial to helping our youth navigate this crisis and was used for a variety of issues: to pay rent to avoid arrears accruing and potential evictions when the crisis passed; to pay internet and phone bills to allow our youth to remain connected during this crisis; to assist youth in securing laptops to remain in school for remote learning or to work from home when their jobs permitted; and to send over 70 food, formula and diaper deliveries via services such as Instacart to ensure our youth also maintained food security in such trying times. As the winter subsided and summer turned to fall, we saw a large increase both in the number of referrals and also the severity of need; we often find youth sleeping on the floor or air mattresses without any basic essentials. We are grateful to be here as a support to these young people, but the need is staggering and we envision it continuing at these levels for quite some time. City Living will continue to adapt to serve these youth and help them stabilize. Despite the many challenges that Covid presents, none of the youth we work with have lost their apartment.
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