The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

WHEN ENDS DON’T MEET

Many people need help to pay for housing in the pandemic

- By David Mekeel dmekeel@readingeag­le.com @dmekeel on Twitter

Kevin Croak was at the edge of a cliff.

He and his girlfriend, Heather Novak, were five months behind in paying the rent for their Boyertown apartment.

Croak was unable to work because of a physical disability. Novak had seen the hours at her retail job cut back to almost nothing in the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new job she took to replace it paid far less than what she had been making.

And the couple was expecting a child.

Money was incredibly tight. “We went from living week to week to living almost hour to hour,” Croak said. “It was stressful, we had nothing for the baby. We didn’t have a bed for the baby.”

In the weeks leading up to the Oct. 27 birth of Jaden Croak, the situation was so dire that Kevin Croak was often forgoing meals.

“I was giving my food to my girlfriend because she was eating for two,” he said.

And then, the couple received a notice of eviction in the mail.

Out of options, they began searching for help. They were eventually referred to Family

 ?? BEN HASTY — MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Heather Novak, Kevin Croak and their 2-month-old son, Jayden Croak, at their Boyertown apartment. Novak and Croak were behind on their rent due in part to the COVID-19pandemic and received help from Family Promise of Berks County that kept them from being evicted. The scenario is far too common in the pandemic, advocates say, but residents can get help.
BEN HASTY — MEDIANEWS GROUP Heather Novak, Kevin Croak and their 2-month-old son, Jayden Croak, at their Boyertown apartment. Novak and Croak were behind on their rent due in part to the COVID-19pandemic and received help from Family Promise of Berks County that kept them from being evicted. The scenario is far too common in the pandemic, advocates say, but residents can get help.
 ?? BEN HASTY — MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Kevin Croak sometimes went without eating when Heather Novak was pregnant with their son, Jayden Croak, now 2 months old. “I was giving my food to my girlfriend because she was eating for two,” he says. Times were desperate for the couple who fell on financial troubles due to the pandemic.
BEN HASTY — MEDIANEWS GROUP Kevin Croak sometimes went without eating when Heather Novak was pregnant with their son, Jayden Croak, now 2 months old. “I was giving my food to my girlfriend because she was eating for two,” he says. Times were desperate for the couple who fell on financial troubles due to the pandemic.

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