Opinion | People are still struggling in our new COVID normal
Family & Intercultural Resource Center executive director
Despite the streets filled with tourists, the crowded shore of the Dillon Reservoir and long waits at your favorite restaurant, COVID-19 continues to make its impact in the Summit County community. As we look around, we may forget the struggles others are facing due to the appearance of “normalcy.”
While COVID-19 has impacted all communities with severe economic consequences across Colorado, under-resourced and overworked families in Summit County have felt the effects with far more serious consequences. The very backbone of our community is overwhelmed, and uncertainty continues to appear at every turn.
There have been many “firsts” for parents, employees and business owners over the past several months. First time navigating unemployment, first time explaining to a landlord that you are unable to pay the rent, first time accessing a food pantry, first time slashing your business’s budget to try to keep the doors open and first time trying to help teach our children from home.
Now that our community has reopened, parents are being forced to decide if paying for child care makes sense with their reduced employment hours. Many have no child care options at all, and the uncertainty of the upcoming school year is weighing on working families considering the vast majority of jobs here are related to the service industry, making working from home an option that does not exist.
Families that were struggling to make ends meet before COVID are facing the reality that they may not be able to continue to afford to live here. Front-line and service-industry workers are putting themselves at risk daily, interacting with hundreds of people each shift. Others are dealing with the medical costs from the impact of this virus and helping loved ones recover. All these challenges come with increased levels of anxiety and isolation, making the day-to-day hard to manage.
Further, many Latino families have the added complexity of being excluded from emergency aid to pay for basic needs such as housing and food. Culturally and linguistically relevant information can be difficult to access and navigate, exacerbating health disparities and putting our entire community at risk.
At the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, we hear these stories every day and are committed to finding ways to support our greatest assets: our working families. We know that strong families make a strong community, so we will continue to try to be a source of strength and hope for those who feel defeated. Summit County, we are resilient.
For more information on how to access help, or how to support the helpers, please go to SummitFIRC.org.
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