In the United States, the pandemic is pushing single mothers into poverty

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When the pandemic shut down restaurants in California, Aleida Ramirez lost her job as a waitress, plunging like many single mothers into the infernal cycle of poverty, unpaid rents and food banks.

She had to quit her other job, delivering for the Instacart platform, to care for her 11-year-old daughter and 21-year-old autistic nephew, when her husband was arrested in July for domestic violence.

Since October, she no longer pays the rent for her apartment, in an HLM in Concord, in the suburbs of San Francisco. “I had to choose between what I can afford, food or rent,” she explains.

To support the household, she received meal vouchers offered by her daughter’s school, then vouchers provided by a local church, to be used in a local supermarket.

To pay for the internet, essential for her daughter’s distance education courses, or her car insurance, she relies on the salary of her nephew, who works part-time at McDonald’s. She also fasted regularly.

She admits to having felt “guilty” of her situation: “I thought I was a bad mother, irresponsible”.

But she realized that she was not the only one. Aleida Ramirez has organized with neighbors to negotiate with donors. “We’re all in the same boat, and a lot of us are single mothers,” she says.

The pandemic has hit women who held jobs in the service sector, most affected by the economic crisis, much harder. And more than 12 million Americans without jobs or incomes are threatened with losing their aid on Boxing Day, when the aid plan adopted by Congress in the spring expires.


Across the country, in Washington, Maria Lara fears that she will soon be evicted from the shabby apartment where she no longer pays rent. The moratorium on evictions also expires after Christmas.

This Salvadorian, mother of a little girl, was a cleaner in a hotel before the epidemic. She found a job as a laborer on construction sites, but only works “two or three days, sometimes four, every two weeks”.

Not to mention the state of his building, infested with mice who find themselves trapped by sticky plaques.

“We live with (the mice) because when we tell the owner that it smells bad, he says he will disinfect, but does not do it”, denounces Maria Lara.

Further north, in New York, Marisol Gonzales lost her job in the spring when the pandemic hit Corona, the district of Queens where she lives, then her apartment at $ 2,200 a month in October.

This 45-year-old masseuse from El Salvador has found a shared room, which she shares with one of her daughters. Small jobs allow him to pay for the room (850 dollars), the electricity bills and his metro card. She goes to a food bank once a month.

It has paid an even heavier price for the pandemic since last month. Her 20-year-old daughter was hospitalized with depression. A student, she could not endure confinement and gradually turned in on herself, until she stopped studying.

“I pray that she will be better and come home,” she said.

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