Bottomless Closet Client Support in the Face of the COVID19 Coronavirus

March 31, 2020

No aspect of our lives has remained untouched by the global pandemic, COVID-19. At Bottomless Closet, since we temporarily suspended our in-person client services on March 16, we have been working tirelessly to connect with clients via phone and email, to support them with remote programming, vital COVID-19 related resources and most importantly, to let them know they are not alone.

An enormous 84% of clients have responded favorably to the idea of a remote learning program and in just two weeks, thanks to the remarkable efforts of staff and volunteers, this is now operational and includes the following components:

  • 1:1 remote client coaching and interview prep.
  • Virtual client Town Hall scheduled.
  • First online workshop scheduled – Critical Financial Advice in the face of COVID-19

As a result of our outreach and sharing job opportunities so far, three of our clients have secured vital positions as Certified Nursing Assistants!

Knowing many of our clients would be among those most negatively affected by the pandemic, we also designed an online survey, to which almost 400 clients responded. The results, as we feared, are stark:

  • 62% of working clients have been permanently or temporarily laid off and 20% have had their hours reduced.
  • 87% report that they will not be given paid sick leave if they get sick.
  • 67% of clients have no savings to cover their needs in the case of layoffs or illness.
  • 39% of job-seeking clients report having no interviews and 14% report a reduced number of interviews.

Beyond just the numbers, our clients have shared with us their feedback on their situations, some of which we are sharing with you here to understand the nature of the challenges they are facing:

“This is the most difficult time for me. Due to a lack of childcare I was laid off a job I recently obtained and actually loved. Working in healthcare has been a great joy and when the smoke clears I plan to continue my search to help those in need, any way I can. I truly appreciate the concern and effort from Bottomless Closet during these trying times. I have been updated and hopeful through your emails.”  – Amanda

“Feeling a little depressed because I was just about to start a new job/new classes and that was all bushed back because of COVID-19. I was really excited to start this new phase in my life and now everything just shut down. I have a laptop but it’s cracked and I do not have access to Wi-Fi where I live unfortunately so it’s much harder to continue working remotely. Hopefully I can find an alternative soon.”  – Akpo

“I am optimistic. I have been homeless and the services you provided gave me hope. I trust God this too shall pass. I’m working on who I will be after.”  – Rhonda

“At first I didn’t think this would get so serious, then next thing I know I’m getting told I’m temporarily laid off, I can’t collect unemployment because I don’t yet have a NY ID, and have no foreseeable source of income. I am extremely stressed, I just FINALLY received an apartment after being homeless for over 5 years and things were going well, suddenly my life has flipped upside down and I’m not sure what I can even do!”  – Kaley

“I have two autistic boys, and I was working at a school part time, but the school closed for the rest of the semester, indefinitely as the emails notify. Now, it is hard to find a job while my boy’s school is closed.”  – Silvia

“Appreciate the homecare being received from Bottomless Closet during this crucial time. Keeping yourself occupied is something that needs assistance while being homebound.”  – Regina

We know that many of you want to support our clients during this time of great challenge and we appreciate your loyal and constant commitment to New York City women in need. The best way to support our clients is through making a financial donation here.

We are also working on a unique and participatory online experience for our first ever Virtual Spring Luncheon on May 13, 2020 and we will share news of how to get involved soon!

Thank you for being a vital part of the Bottomless Closet community.