COVID-19 Leaves Shawnee Woman Homeless
March 26, 2020
As unemployment claims in the U.S. skyrocket due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiffany Barnett, a Shawnee resident, is personally feeling the effects.
Barnett moved to Shawnee from Dania Beach, Florida, a suburb of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area, at the beginning of March to get away from big cities and be closer to her Native American tribe.
When she moved, though, she had no idea the COVID-19 outbreak would cause her to be homeless.
“My boyfriend works at (a restaurant in) Fort Lauderdale airport, and they cut his hours the last two weeks, and he has been laid off as of (Friday, March 20),” Barnett said.
Her boyfriend was supposed to move to Shawnee with her, where they would rent an apartment together and eventually buy a house. But because he was fired, he’s stuck in Florida with no money.
Barnett has been forced to sleep in her car until she gets paid from her new job and can save up enough to afford a down payment on a place, rent, and deposits for utilities.
“The plan had originally been to stay and save up until June before moving, but my emotional health would not allow it,” Barnett said.
She suffers from depression and left her job in Florida due to a hostile work situation.
“It was so bad I had to be put on Xanax, which I have never had to use,” she said. “I am currently working as of now, but without (my
boyfriend’s) income, we have fallen behind on bills.”
Barnett said it’s scary being in a new place and not having a place to call home. It’s also been bad for her emotional health.
“I feel physically and emotionally drained,” Barnett said. “I know there are people who are sick and suffering (from COVID-19), and I feel for them. It’s not fair what those who are sick are dealing with. But sleeping in my car for three weeks, I feel hopeless.
“The only way I have gotten through is with the emotional support of family, reminding me that it will get better. Unfortunately, both of my brothers have either themselves or their wife out of work due to the virus.”
Barnett said she wouldn’t get paid until the end of March, but even then, she’ll still be low on money since her boyfriend is out of work.
She set up a GoFundMe with a $2,000 goal with the hopes of raising enough for all initial rental costs and to buy a bed.
“It would be a blessing to have somewhere safe and warm to sleep,” she said.
The GoFundMe account can be found at this link: gf.me/u/xrqwaz.