When Marie was furloughed from her job in March 2020, it was a complete surprise. The 38-year old did not make much money to begin with and did not have any savings as she had been in a major car accident in 2016 which left her with major medical bills to pay.
“I had gotten an older car after the accident, but it needed a number of repairs after I was furloughed that I couldn’t make. When I finally got my job back for 20 hours a week, I needed funds to repair the car so that I could get to work,” stated Marie.
Marie is among 265 applicants who have applied for the CARES Individual Assistance Program in Talbot County. These funds are available to anyone living in Talbot County who has experienced any loss of wages due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and needs help with rent, mortgage, or other housing costs, utilities, car payments, licensed child care for virtual school, or other emergency needs. Talbot County Department of Social Services also provides emergency Cash Assistance and Food Assistance to eligible individuals and families.
“I worried about living on unemployment. When I heard about the CARES Individual Assistance Program, I decided to apply and got a response very quickly and the staff was very helpful. The CARES grant money helped with most of my big expenses, including three months of my rent, as well as the much-needed repairs on my car. Receiving this assistance took the worry and stress off of my shoulders and I could begin to move forward again,” Marie added.
Linda Webb, Director of the Talbot County Department of Social Services, whose agency is processing the applications for Talbot County commented, “We want people to know that two months of car payments are now covered under the program. In addition, families who have not lost income, but are incurring costs for licensed child care related to virtual school are now eligible for coverage of these expenses regardless of whether the parent chose the virtual learning option or not.”
“It is important for individuals to know that the CARES Individual Assistance Program is not income-based. Anyone who lives in Talbot County is eligible for these funds if they have experienced any loss of wages due to the pandemic. We want to help as many individuals and families as we can. We also don’t want families to wait until they are faced with eviction, foreclosure, or utility cutoff to get in touch with us. If they are feeling stressed, they should reach out now as the Program will end December 30, 2020.”
Talbot County Department of Social Services is also working with its community partners the Neighborhood Service Center and St. Vincent de Paul in Easton to help meet other applicant needs.
Applications for the CARES Individual Assistance Program are available by calling 410-770-4848. Press 1 for Services in Spanish. Press 4 for Emergency Cash Assistance. Press 5 for CARES Individual Assistance. Press 6 for Food Assistance. Individuals can also visit www.talbotcovid19.org for information about how to apply.