Before the Deluge

Advocates brace for a new wave of homelessness.

The Progressive - Patricia Mendoza lives in Imperial Beach, a four-and-a-half-square-mile city of about 29,000 people at the southwest edge of California. She is a single mother with two children, ages sixteen and nine, and until recently she was employed as a non-emergency medical transport driver earning about $2,000 a month.

She lost her job at the end of March, when California Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Mendoza had little savings—rent took up about 70 percent of her monthly income, with the rest going for food and utilities. So when she lost her job, she had to stop paying rent.

“The last two weeks in March, I only worked four days,” she said in a phone interview. “I didn’t have money to pay rent, and I had to feed my kids and pay the bills.”

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