NAPLES — Help is about to come to an end for thousands of people in need in southwest Florida.
At the end of this week, the federal government will stop providing the extra $600 of unemployment assistance, and non-profits in our area are getting ready for an increase in the demand for food and shelter.
We spoke with one woman, Trisha Necessary, who is worried about losing her apartment, and her car.
“Without the $600, I’m going to get dropped to $125 a week, and I don’t know anybody who could survive on $125 a week," said Necessary.
Necessary had two jobs before the pandemic hit. She worked as a bartender and a yoga instructor. Neither of the jobs came back, and the positions she says she's seen online have only been part-time, and wouldn't allow her to afford all her bills.
At the non-profit St. Matthew’s House, Chief Operating Officer Steve Brooder says they’re seeing people like Necessary, who had never been to the food pantry in the past, increasingly turn to them for help.
“We would serve 60 to 100 people a week. We’re now, as I said, seeing 600 to 800 households 3 times a week, so the numbers have just increased dramatically," said Brooder.
That’s why volunteers are working to make sure plenty of food is ready for the distribution Thursday, but Brooder says it’s not just food people need right now.
“We see a dramatic need for transitional housing that’s increasing. People that may have been in our shelters are now looking for some affordable housing. That also will just be increasing as a problem in the community if some of these programs stop," said Brooder.
Brooder says St. Matthew’s House operates two homeless shelters that are at capacity right now with a waiting list. Necessary says that means, without more help, people like her could end up on the street.
“People lose their homes, their apartments, their cars, their houses. Every single thing, and then you’re going to see it, and then it’s going to be in your face, and then you’re going to have to deal with it," said Necessary.
That’s why Necessary says she’s hoping Congress can approve more benefits, and the Governor can extend the eviction ban.
“Help us please. Please help," said Necessary.