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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

No Address Can Mean No COVID Stimulus Check, But North Texas Nonprofits Are Stepping Up To Help

For people experiencing homelessness, accessing the third round of COVID-19 relief money requires resources often not available to them. Some North Texas organizations are helping people get online or get a mailing address so they can get paid.

Before the pandemic, Jesse Hawkins had a job and a home. Now he lives at Camp Rhonda, a homeless encampment in Dallas.

"When COVID first started I lost my job, businesses shut down, what money I did save up I spent to survive, couldn’t get a job because nobody was hiring — so this is where I ended up," he said.

The pandemic has accelerated America's fast-growing homelessness crisis. Dallas County has the largest population of people experiencing homelessness in the state.

"A lot more people are coming in every day and every month who haven’t experienced homelessness before," said Brenda Snitzer, executive director of the Stewpot, which serves unhoused and at-risk individuals in Dallas.

Those experiencing homelessness are struggling to receive their stimulus checks. To get the check, you must be registered with the IRS, which many people do online.

Rachel Carp / For KERA News
For KERA News
Camp Rhonda resident David Andrews said those who are older may have difficulty navigating technology to access their stimulus checks.

"A lot of us are older and we are not good at the online stuff, that is one of the reasons, too," said David Andrews, who lives at Camp Rhonda and has yet to receive a stimulus check.

To get the check, you also need identification and a bank account or a physical address. That is what has kept Patricia Nolan from receiving her check.

"I never had an address to receive it, and I did not have a bank account, so I couldn’t do the direct deposit," she said.

North Texas groups are stepping in to help. The Stewpot, in partnership with the Dallas Public Library, is offering free stimulus check assistance from 10 to noon through Friday. People without a home address can use the Stewpot’s address to receive their checks. The Dallas Houseless Committee is also helping people access their checks.

Rachel Carp / For KERA News
For KERA News
Johnny Lee is a resident at Camp Rhonda who wants to use his stimulus check to buy a car.

Jhonny Lee lives at camp Rhonda and is working with Dallas Houseless Committee to access his funds.

"What I am planning to do with mine is to pay down on an automobile," he said, "Then I can move around and make some money and do the type of work I know how to do."

Jesse Hawkins also plans to use his check for transportation — and for essentials.

"Sometimes you just need a dollar to buy a coke," he said.

Millions of Americans are using their stimulus checks to recover from the financial hit of the pandemic. With a little help, people experiencing homelessness will soon join them.

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