'The government should protect citizens': COVID patient facing eviction explains why she’s falling through the cracks
Coronavirus A French first aid worker from the Protection Civile Paris Seine holds an oxygen mask over the mouth and nose of a male patient suspected of being infected with COVID-19 (AFP / Lucas BARIOULET)

Although some Americans haven't lost anything economically during the COVID-19 pandemic — especially those who can easily work remotely — others have been suffering financial hell. One such American is Cassandra Conrad, a Missouri resident and coronavirus patient who is facing eviction. In an article published by The Nation on March 15, Conrad explains why she is falling through the cracks and facing eviction during her illness.

"My son, Jonah, and I have been sick with the coronavirus for more than a month, and we and our dog could be evicted in days," Conrad explains. "I don't have family nearby, and my friends are in situations as shaky as mine. Along with an eviction, I'm facing utility cutoffs, unemployment, and the threat of poverty. The only thing that can resolve these problems is action from the government."

Conrad adds that although the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 — the COVID-19 relief bill that President Joe Biden has signed into law — "includes some money for rental assistance," it won't "stop my landlord from pushing me or anyone else out of their home."

The Missouri resident goes on to explain how she fell upon hard times economically.

Conrad notes that she worked as a schoolteacher for 13 years before injuring her spine during a fall in 2019, adding that she has been receiving monthly disability payments. And recently, she has been quite ill with COVID-19.

"I feel incredibly sick," Conrad writes. "I've had a blinding migraine, and it's hard to get out of bed. My doctor put me on a strong dose of the steroid prednisone and cough medication, and I've started to use an inhaler. But my body hurts. I've been coughing up blood. Even though I have Medicaid, I've been avoiding going to the emergency room because my son would be alone."

A screwup with Conrad's disability payments, she adds, led to the eviction she is facing.

"It has been very hard to get through this pandemic with only disability payments and child support from my ex-husband," Conrad notes. "It became even harder in July when the company dispensing my disability checks misplaced my paperwork and stopped sending me money. This caused me to fall behind on my $775 monthly rent. I even connected my property manager with my disability claims handler, who confirmed all of this. My property manager said he would work with me to find a solution. I felt enormously relieved. But in mid-November, a few days after we talked, I opened my door to find an eviction notice ordering me to move out in ten days."

Conrad also points out that she voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, believing he would "try to improve our economic situation and concentrate on our country." And Conrad doesn't say that she regrets doing so, although she wishes the federal government would do more to help Americans facing the type of dire situation she is facing.

The former schoolteacher writes, "The federal government should protect citizens by ordering local governments to stop kicking people out of their homes…. I am not only about to lose my home. I am also fighting to stay alive."