UMOM family shelter helping families financially impacted by COVID-19

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 21:55:19-04

The financial impact of COVID-19 on many working families has been devastating. ABC15's special reporting project, "The Rebound Arizona" is highlighting places where families can get help.

Family shelters like UMOM New Day Centers are among those resources. The shelter has been slammed with the number of people needing help during this pandemic.

Director of Marketing, Cassidy Penney tells ABC15 their numbers have increased by about 30 percent. UMOM acts as the intake facility for all the family shelters in Maricopa County.

Penney said their waiting list included 130 people so far, and was about 12 weeks long.

One of the families UMOM has recently helped is the Curlin family. Mother, Mercadees Curlin lost her job after the pandemic shut down; soon after that, they lost the roof over their head. The family was living out of their car while they searched for a family shelter that would take them in.

"This pandemic, it uprooted my life a lot. I lost paycheck. I lost a home," said Curlin.

She said she spent all day calling homeless shelters all over the Valley, for several days.

"Everything was full. We were calling starting at 6 a.m. all the way until 5 p.m. trying to get into a shelter," she added.

Thanks to meals provided by the Creighton School District, where her 7-year old daughter went to school, the family was able to get enough food for their child.

Curlin said her number one concern was keeping her daughter safe, not from a virus but starvation. There were days when she and her husband would go hungry, just so their child could have more food.

"It was really hard as a mother. It was sad, it was depressing. I spent a lot of my time in the car crying because of this situation," said Curlin.

When she got the call from UMOM saying they had beds available for the family, she cried tears of joy.

"Our goal is to just get the families off the streets. Children should not be sleeping on the streets," said Penney.

At UMOM, the Curlins have more than a roof over their head. They also have access to resources that will help in searching for a job.

"I have hope in the future of getting my life back on track," said Penney.

UMOM needs your help, to help the families they serve. They have an Amazon wish list posted on their website

They are also desperately in need of laptops, tablets, and WiFi hotspots. The technology helps them provide online education and employment resources for families in the shelter.