Marcia never planned for a pandemic to shatter her small business. “This came out of nowhere,” she said.
A single mom, Marcia owns an HR business that places workers, such as nannies and caregivers, in people’s homes. For the past few summers, she’s supplemented her income by working in television production. But as the pandemic spread, Marcia couldn’t find clients or supplemental work.
Marcia wasn’t alone. According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, some 22% of America’s businesses were sidelined by spring 2020. This drop in active business ownership was unprecedented, with losses experienced across nearly every industry. The shutdown was especially tough on people of color, with Black-owned businesses seeing a 41% drop in activity, Hispanic business activity falling by 32%, and Asian business activity declining by 26%.
Marcia’s utility bills began to stack up and she struggled to pay her mortgage. “I had a modest amount of savings, but not enough to get through many months of this.” She applied to A New Way of Life’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, underwritten by BET and United Way. After speaking with Marcia to assess her greatest needs, United Way of Greater Los Angeles paid for her utilities (including bills in arrears) and a month of her mortgage, totaling $2,700.
“I’m really grateful this fund was available for people like me who are struggling,” Marcia said. “There aren’t many assistance programs available for homeowners. This is a godsend...It gave me time to research and develop a plan.”