© 2024 WYSO
Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Economic Fallout Continues As Many Ohioans Await Coronavirus Relief Checks

courtesy of Dejanee Coaston

As Ohio rolls out plans to reopen its economy, the economic fallout continues in communities around the Miami Valley. The state is struggling to process the record number of unemployment claims filed during the pandemic and millions of Americans are still waiting for their federal stimulus checks.

Among them is Dayton 28-year-old single mom Dejanee Coaston, who lives with her daughter on the city's west side. When the coronavirus shutdown took effect she lost most of her hours at her full-time restaurant job and quickly fell behind on her bills.

After weeks of scrambling Coaston finally started a new job at a factory a few days ago but the damage is already done. Her rent is late and her landlord’s threatening to evict the family from their rented home.

Coaston says her current situation is made all the more difficult because she only recently got back on her feet after surviving last year’s tornado outbreak in Trotwood.

What follows is a transcript of Coaston's conversation with WYSOs Jess Mador, edited for length and clarity:

"And to have to go through this and lose everything all over again, when I literally just built everything back up, because I lost all my clothes. My daughter lost all her clothes, we lost all my pots and pans, our TVs, our beds, everything. We lost everything.

So I basically had to start all the way back over and just rebuild everything back up. So that's when I was doing, and now it’s this.

It was really sad because my daughter, the only thing she had asked for for Christmas was a hoverboard. I was able to get that for her and we couldn't even get it out after the tornadoes, it was just devastating. I mean, I had to basically start my life all over again.

And when I ended up finding this house I was really happy about it because we had been homeless since after the tornado, we were homeless for about a year. We were staying with relatives. It was December 27 when I moved here.

My daughter, she was doing good. She wanted her room to be unicorn. So we ordered some stickers off of Amazon to put on the wall. We went to Walmart and got her a unicorn comforter set for her bed. She had Internet for her games. Everything was looking up and up.

But, you know, I was working at Popeye's in Englewood and I was getting paid a nice amount, enough to keep me afloat as far as like paying bills and everything. But when the coronavirus came about, our dining room had closed, which made a lot of our employees lose hours.

My rent is $650 a month. I’ve paid my $650 a month on time every month since I've been here with no issues at all. And my landlord is trying to evict me because of failure to pay rent in April, which I couldn't pay rent in April. And I tried to give him even a partial payment. He wasn't willing to accept that. He was like, you give me the whole thing or nothing at all -- like, my rent is $650. I can give you $350, which will be all of the money that I have to survive off of until I get paid again. And he was like, no.

A lot of landlords are cancelling rent until further notice. But some landlords are just not like that.

So I'm actually trying to find somewhere else to stay. I'm actively looking right now. You know, people don't want you to meet up, and for me to meet with them being that this coronavirus thing is going on now. So everything is really like a waiting game at this point.

And I still have to take care of my daughter. I still have to keep a smile on my face. I can't just sit around being miserable, but I have a lot on my plate right now. I'm tired, I’m stressed out. But, you know, I have to keep going."


A call seeking comment from Coaston's landlord was not answered.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.