Helping people in crisis while the world is in crisis is something new to many of us. Most of the people we serve are out of work and now turning to us, the people who showed up in their clubs telling them that Jesus sees them and loves them. Just as they are. So what now? How do you answer the calls for help when your own funds have been cut or are in major shortage?
Stay honest. Don’t sugar coat it. If you are a leader and are struggling with funding and unable to offer financial assistance, tell them that. But don’t leave it there. And please, please, please… don’t try to minimize fears with empty phrases and cliche’s insinuating that God will provide. When I say “empty,” I mean saying it without BEING that provision. God provides through you and through me. So just remember that the next time you tell someone that “God will provide.” All leaders and people of influence have opportunities right now to build relationships, and continue to serve people even if we don’t have the funding. We can search for resources that are available to those we serve. Here are some organizations that might be able to help during this crisis.
211.org provides resources in every state and has specific help available for those impacted by COVID-19..
Unemployment benefits extended to independent contractors and employees of businesses shut down due to COVID-19.
Catholic Charities (available to qualified applicants regardless of religious affiliation)
United Way local COVID-19 relief fund.
If you are a sex industry worker and you are struggling to pay your bills, please know that you are not alone. Many of us are facing the same challenges. Communication will serve you well right now. Do not be afraid to call your creditors, utility providers, landlord, or mortgage company. Nothing is automatic. You could be entitled to something, but unless you claim it,–it is not yours. The government has asked utility providers not to turn off power or cable. It’s also asking banks and landlords to hold off on evictions and foreclosures.
Please reach out to your creditors/ providers and let them know you have been affected by COVID-19, and you need time and most likely a payment plan. Let them know you are looking into local resources AND ASK THEM what resources they are aware of to help in this crisis. Every single company I have spoken with has been fantastic.
The government has signed a federal relief package that includes stimulus checks to anyone who made less than $75,000 last year. To be eligible, you must have filed taxes in 2018 or 2019. IF you have not done this, it is NOT too late to do it for 2019.
Stimulus checks up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for joint taxpayers, and an additional $500 for each qualifying child — will be based on information from your most recent tax filings, either 2019 or 2018, if you have not yet filed this year.
The first step you should take right now is to file your 2019 tax return if you have not already. And, if you are getting a tax refund, choose to receive that refund through direct deposit. This will ensure that the IRS has the most current tax filing and direct deposit information for you, which they will use to determine individual stimulus check amounts.
TurboTax Online will allow you to pay for their services from any refund you are getting from your federal taxes.
Car loans: Most are offering forbearance. Call the bank who holds the title of your automobile to discuss what is available. Most are currently offering a three-month forbearance.
Car Insurance: Call your car insurance company to see what they are offering. ALSO, request to “reduce the mileage traveled” on your car right now since you are quarantined. This can actually reduce a policy premium significantly.
Student loans: Federal Student loan payments will be suspended until September 30, 2020
Mortgage Forbearance: As a borrower with a federally-backed mortgage loan, you will be granted forbearance of up to 180 days by submitting a request to your servicer (the company you make payments to) and affirming that you are experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 emergency. No further documentation or proof is required. This does not affect your credit or status with the bank. See the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act”
MIND, BODY & SOUL
The media serves a purpose, but like anything, too much of it can be a distraction. I recommend only 30-minutes a day. Social media is a an excellent tool, but it can also over-saturate us in morbidity and fear. If you are on social media, be sure you are looking for uplifting and thoughtful posts and shares. There are a ton of free apps in the Android and IOS app store. Some of our favorites are Calm, ThinkUp, I am, +Quotes, Affirmations, and I am Bliss.
CALM is offering an incredible variety of free resources right now— everything from music to meditations. You can check this out from any mobile device or computer.
YouVersion has a bible app with a variety of free bible studies and resources.
It can be hard to stay connected when we are under mandatory quarantine. There are some options if you want to connect with other sex industry workers during this time for mutual support. We have a private Facebook group that we are now opening up to all female sex workers. Email [email protected] if you’d like to join that private group. If we get requests from male sex workers, we will open a private group just for men as well.
If you need someone to talk to during this time, let’s set up a call and talk it out. Email me: [email protected]
We see you, and we love you.