Lawyer, single mom finds solace in community aid during COVID-19 unemployment

first_imgABC NewsBy HALEY YAMADA, AUDE SOICHET, and MATT MCGARRY, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Liceny Espaillat has worked her entire life toward reaching the middle class and, as an immigration lawyer, she always thought she would be beyond the reach of poverty.But in an unexpected twist, as the coronavirus spread through the United States last year, Espaillat found herself in the middle of a divorce and suddenly without a job after the courts had shut down.“I went from almost up the ladder — I’m getting there, I’m almost there — and, all of a sudden, this happens, and that’s it, no more money,” Espaillat told “Nightline” five months after she had lost her job. “I had to file for bankruptcy because I had no other choice.”Watch the full story on “Nightline” TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABCSince then, Espaillat has been through a harrowing journey navigating the COVID-19 relief system. She struggled to stay afloat when the first round of federal supplement of $600 a week in unemployment benefits ran dry in July and then her unemployment benefits were altogether cancelled due to a system error.“If this is my life and I’m a lawyer — I have an education, you know, I’m smart, I know where to look for resources — and I’m struggling, what about those other people that didn’t have the luxury to go to college?” said Espaillat. “The ones that didn’t have good parents or the ones that have mental health issues, drug problems, homeless — where are they going?”Espaillat’s story is all too familiar to the more than 22 million people in the U.S. who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Many of them, like Espaillat, were middle-class earners.“I don’t know if I’m going to get funds before I get evicted,” Espaillat told ”Nightline” in September. “Am I going to find a job in time before everything else becomes a bigger mess? It has been emotionally devastating, physically overwhelming because I’m stressed out.”President Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion plan earlier this month that includes a one-time stimulus check of $1,400 for those who are eligible, with bonuses for families with children. If approved by Congress, the COVID-19 aid would be the third round of stimulus payments distributed throughout the country since the start of the pandemic.Espaillat lives in a two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey with her 4-year-old son, Ethan. She said she juggles school, parenting and a few hours of independent legal work from her bedroom while she looks for a full-time job.Meanwhile, the food that was once so abundant in her fridge has become scarce.“Most of the stuff in my fridge has been given to us by either my mom or my best friend. … I’ve been approved [for SNAP], but I have to wait for the card and that can take weeks,” she said in September. “So, that’s why I wanna go to the pantry today.”Today, four months later, Espaillat is still waiting to receive her SNAP Card, which will give her access to the federal food assistance program formerly known as food stamps. In the meantime, Espaillat has been receiving help from St. James Social Services in downtown Newark, New Jersey.The private charity relies on donations and grants to help those in need by providing everything from a food pantry and hot meals to free clothing and rent help. With only 11 employees, the charity is trying to meet the growing need in the community.“I’ve never been to a pantry before to get food, only to donate,” she said.Forty percent of people who are currently turning to food banks for help never relied on them before, according to an October 2020 study by Feeding America, the country’s largest food relief organization. The nonprofit estimated that with unemployment and poverty on the rise, over 50 million Americans were at risk of food insecurity last year.“You look at the people in line and it’s like, color, career, class — none of it matters. I’m hungry. My kid’s hungry. It doesn’t matter,” said Espaillat at the food pantry. “It’s humbling, really, to know that that could be me, and today it is me, and yesterday it wasn’t and, hopefully tomorrow, it won’t be again. But today, that’s me.”“[In] the first three months of the pandemic, we served over 30,000 people,” said Vesta Godwin Clark, who runs St. James Social Services. “Our numbers have quadrupled since the pandemic.”Clark said that when the pandemic caused shutdowns last March, her staff wasn’t paid.“We were behind two payrolls because we had no funding coming in, and I think that’s why I love them so much, because they know that somewhere, somehow, that it’s going to work out. But in the meantime, they understand why we do what we do, and it’s not about the money. I always tell [our staff] that the people that we serve, they’re in a position far worse than we are. Far worse.”For St. James employee Kendall Clark, helping others is a way to repay his own personal debt.“I was a mess. I was on drugs, I was homeless, I came here and they helped me out… This was in 1992 and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.Before the pandemic, St. James catered mostly to the elderly and low-income families. The charity says it saw a clear shift from serving a majority of working poor and homeless families to helping middle- and upper-middle-class unemployed families.“You had some who received unemployment, they received stimulus checks, but then without the stimulus checks, they can’t last on unemployment,” said Vesta Godwin Clark. “Those who are here, we know they truly have a need and no one gets turned away.”Kevin Woodley, who had worked in finance for 30 years, is one of those pantry newcomers. He comes to St. James every four weeks to collect enough food to keep his family of four going.“I work over on Wall Street, so you can imagine that when businesses shut down all our revenue went down,” said Woodley. “I’ve never needed help before. But I do need it now and this pantry has been a blessing to me and my family.”Similarly, Espaillat said that St. James helped her get out of a deep financial hole.“St. James was able to help me with my back-rent, so now I’m completely at zero — a big change from being behind six months in rent,” she said.After a devastating year of financial and emotional hardship, Espaillat shared some good news: She recently began a full-time job advocating for people facing evictions, an area of focus she knows from personal experience.“All of this has taught me that I have to have faith, I have to continue to do the work and ask for help,” said Espaillat. “Anyone out there still struggling, I hope they take comfort in my story and know that it does get better.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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NBA free agency rumors: Grizzlies’ Jonas Valanciunas to decline option

first_img NBA free agency news: Pau Gasol wants to play another year The move comes with some risks for Valanciunas. The Daily Memphian notes that opting out of his deal and signing an extension would “likely mean a reduced salary next season.” And if he can’t work out a new deal, it’s unclear how much interest the 27-year-old would draw in free agency, given his role as a “traditional” center.Valanciunas thrived with the Grizzlies in 19 games last season after being acquired from the Raptors, averaging 19.9 points and 10.7 points per game, well above his career averages of 11.8 ppg and 8.4 rpg in his seven seasons with Toronto. Related News Yet new Grizzlies hcoach Taylor Jenkins is looking to open up the offense with more 3-point shooting, which would seem to limit the role of Valanciunas, who has attempted 0.3 3-pointers per game in his career. Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas will decline the option year of his contract to become a free agent, ESPN reported Thursday.However, the 7-foot Lithuanian player is declining the $17.6 million option so that he can negotiate a new contract with the Grizzlies, according to the report. If he does opt out, he can’t sign a new deal until the free agency period opens in early July. NBA free agency news: Kemba Walker willing to take less money to stay with Hornetslast_img read more

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Sarajevo Bicycle Race Grand Prix Presented in Paris

first_imgThe project ”Sarajevo Grand Prix’ is presented as a part of yesterday’s official presentation of 101 bicycle race Tour de France, which was held in Paris. The project will be implemented by the Cycling Association in cooperation with the French Embassy and the French Institute in B&H. Sarajevo Grand Prix is the first cycling race in B&H under the support of Tour de France, announced the French Embassy in B&H.The French Ambassador in B&H, Roland Gilles, the Mayor of Sarajevo, Ivo Komšić, the Chief of Staff of East Sarajevo Municipality and the President of the Cycling Association of B&H Igor Golijanin and the director of the race SGP 2014, Zlatko Berbić presented the project in Paris.“A big challenge is in front of us. We hope that in 100 years to celebrate and be proud of this type of communication with the whole world”, stated Berbić.Mayor Komšić said that Sarajevo next month the race that will take place in June 2014 will be presented. The race should encourage the development of cycling throughout the country. The Race Sarajevo Grand Prix will be officially presented on 6th November, when the Director of Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme will visit Sarajevo.(Source: Fena)last_img read more

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American Basketball Player McGhee in Igokea

first_imgThe B&H basketball champions Igokea have brought Gary McGhee to their team.The 25 year old American began his career at the University of Pittsburgh, and then played for the German team Bayreuth, Bandirma from Turkey and Zagreb.McGhee is arriving to Igokea from the French team Gravelines. This season, he played a maximum of 10 minutes and had an average of one point and rebound per match.(Source: Fena)last_img

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Pivotal Game 3 awaits with Pens, CBJ tied at 1-1

first_imgColumbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) grabs a rebound on a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) in the first overtime period of a first-round NHL playoff hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.Now they’re heading home for Monday night’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins hoping to make even more history.“For our fans, it’s been 14 years and they haven’t seen a playoff victory,” budding star Ryan Johansen said after Saturday night’s stunning 4-3 win in Pittsburgh in two overtimes. “To be able to go back to Columbus now tied 1-1 with the momentum we have, it’s a great feeling.”The Blue Jackets, cellar dwellers for most of the franchise’s existence, got the first playoff victory in their 13 seasons when undersized pest Matt Calvert banged in a second-chance rebound 1:10 into the second overtime.It led to a writhing, laughing pile of humanity on the ice at Consol Energy Center – and also set in motion a lot of doubts and criticism of the mighty Penguins.Stocked with hockey celebrities such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have come up short in the last four years since winning the Cup in 2009. Callers to sports-talk shows and those on social media are already questioning the club’s heart and commitment.“Our failed attempts to get it behind their defense kept our players on the ice,” coach Dan Bylsma said after the loss. “They got into the offensive zone, put it in there, hemmed us in.”Here’s five things to watch as the scene shifts to Nationwide Arena for Game 3:GOLDEN CROWD: Usually when the Penguins play in Columbus, their fans all but take over the place. When the teams met late in the regular season in Ohio’s capital city, as much as half of a sell-out crowd of 18,908-plus was rooting for the guys in gold and black.But when the seventh-seeded Blue Jackets drew the Penguins in the first round, the club’s front office sold tickets to fans with Ohio addresses first.That doesn’t mean that a large contingent of (owner and ex-Pen star) Mario Lemieux jerseys still won’t be seen. Just maybe not thousands of them.PENS MINDSET: After an injury-filled regular season, about the last thing the Penguins needed or expected was a major struggle early in the playoffs against a hard-working, physical team.Yet this has become a worst-case scenario for Pittsburgh, a finesse team that relies on its star power instead of gritty play, checking and greasy goals – like the Blue Jackets.Will the Penguins match the Blue Jackets’ effort?“We have to be better,” Crosby said. “That’s really, I think, the bottom line.”BUMPS AND BRUISES: The Blue Jackets may get yet another blue-collar player back for Game 3. Nick Foligno, who scored 18 goals and had 21 assists in the regular season, has missed the last seven games (knee) but has been cleared to play.Perhaps the team’s top defenseman, Fedor Tyutin, left after taking two big hits in the first period of Game 3. Coach Todd Richards would not discuss his availability.The Penguins have gotten a huge lift from forward Brian Gibbons, a 5-foot-8 rookie who finds open spaces. Bylsma moved him to the top line in the series opener and he responded by scoring their first two goals.But he was hurt on an awkward hit in Saturday night’s opening period and didn’t return. Lee Stempniak will replace him on the top line.LAST LINE: Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury have been excellent for the most part although each had shaky moments in Game 1 but recovered.Neither can afford any more soft goals, that’s for certain, in what has turned out to be a tight series in which each team has scored seven goals.“He’s the Bob when we need him to be the Bob,” Blue Jacket Artem Anisimov said of his Russian counterpart, last year’s Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goalie.Fleury made several sterling saves in Game 2 to keep the Penguins alive, at least for a while.“There’s times where we get hemmed in our own end and he comes up huge and just gives us a chance to win,” Stempniak said.SUPPORTING ACTS: The loudest cheers at most Blue Jackets home games go to the singer of the National Anthem and a fat guy who tears off his shirt and dances suggestively while pouring beer over himself.Leo Welsh will again be greeted by thousands of fans screaming, “LEO!” when he’s introduced.And Kevin Schroeder, a portly fellow with inspirational sayings scribbled all over his massive frame, will undoubtedly get the crowd roaring when he pretends he’s Magic Mike late in the game.___Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAPlast_img read more

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Billions for transport projects

first_img14 February 2008South Africa’s transport and logistics infrastructure projects are progressing well, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin told journalists in Cape Town on Monday, detailing the government’s plans for road maintenance, rail upgrades, taxi recapitalisation and the development of mass transit public transport networks.Erwin said the efficient and timely rollout of the country’s various infrastructure programmes was crucial to ensure that the government met its economic growth and poverty alleviation goals.He said the government had allocated R7.7-billion for the rollout of the taxi recapitalisation programme that aims to improve safety and help formalise South Africa’s taxi industry, with the target of scrapping and replacing 80% of the old taxi fleet by 2010.“The scrapping of taxis commenced in 2006 and to date more than 13 261 old taxi vehicles have been scrapped, amounting to payments of over R663-million,” he said.South Africa also plans to rehabilitate, maintain and preserve road infrastructure with the help of a budget allocation that has been raised from R600-million to R2.2-billion.Rail transportIn addition, the South African Rail Commuter Corporation is working towards ensuring that rail services support the integrated transport plans developed by the government.“Metrorail express services will be deployed effectively as part of our transport operation plans for both the Confederations Cup in 2009 and ultimately the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” Erwin said. “We have committed almost R10-billion to upgrade both rolling stock and infrastructure over the next three years.”In another programme, over 1 700 rail police have been deployed countrywide a further 5 000 officers are to be deployed by 2010.A further investment in rail infrastructure to the value of R16-billion is expected for the refurbishment and overhaul of coaches as the rail safety management system is implemented.South Africa has also developed a strategy to revitalise non-core rail lines to ensure the economic sustainability of small towns and rural communities, the minister said.Integrated, rapid public transportRegarding the public transport strategy, Erwin said the Cabinet had approved key projects aimed at achieving the goal of mass transit public transport networks.An essential feature of the strategy deals with a phased extension of the mode-based vehicle recapitalisation into integrated rapid public transport networks, which comprises rapid rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) priority corridors especially in major cities.Erwin said the Public Transport Infrastructure and System Fund had been allocated an amount of R9.2-billion between now and 2010 to fund projects including the Khulani Corridor, the N1 and N2 toll highway, the Rea Vaya BRT system in Johannesburg, the Sani Pass Road between South Africa and Lesotho and the BRT network in Pretoira.Airports Company South Africa, meanwhile, is developing the country’s airport infrastructure in line with passenger growth through its R19.3-billion capital expenditure programme, with passenger numbers expected to increase to 31-million by 2012.Smaller provincial airports are also being upgraded to meet growth demands, Erwin said.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Corporate travel demand still subdued on Cathay

first_imgCorporate travel demand remains below par on Cathay Pacific as the group’s November passenger traffic took a 5 per cent hit due to air traffic control changes in Hong Kong.But there were more signs the airline’s important cargo business was improving due to strengthening exports from Hong Kong and mainland China.The combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon (formerly Dragonair) network carried 2.64  million passengers, down 5.1 per cent on the same month a year ago. It has risen by just 0.7 per cent in the first 11 months of the year compared to a 2.5 per cent rise in capacity.The passenger load factor fell  1.4 percentage points,  to 83.5 per cent, as a 2.3 per cent decrease in capacity was outstripped by the fall in traffic. “The decrease in passenger traffic during November was expected as we operated fewer flights primarily to complement the cutover of the new air traffic control system at Hong Kong International Airport,’’  Cathay Pacific general manager revenue management Patricia Hwang said in a statement.“November is traditionally a peak month for corporate travel, and while we did see some positive movement in this area, demand proved softer than in previous years. “Sales in the United States were impacted by the presidential election, while Mainland China sales continued to weaken as a result of overcapacity in the market. Competition remains intense, with yield under considerable pressure.” The two airlines carried 167,520 tonnes of cargo and mail in November, an increase of 4.6 per cent  compared to the same month last year, and the load factor rose 1.1 points to 68.1 per cent.Cathay Pacific general manager cargo sales & marketing Mark Sutch said the growth was backed by strong exports of new products from Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as special products from Northeast Asia and the Americas.“During the peak, there were more ocean-to-air conversions,’’ he said. “Apart from an increased load factor, yields have also improved month-on-month.’’Cathay launched a twice-weekly freighter service to Portland, Oregon, In November as well as a once-a-week service to Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport in Australia.last_img read more

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iPhone Developer Steals Customers’ Phone Numbers, Calls Them

first_imgRelated Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Apple#mobile#news#NYT#web center_img sarah perez Company calls customers in attempt to sell paid version of mobile app Within iTunes’ user ratings section of iPhone application mogoRoad, a real-time traffic monitoring tool available in Switzerland, several users claim to have received phone calls from the development company behind the mobile software. Reportedly, the company is asking the app owners if they would like to purchase the paid version of the application. While unsolicited sales calls are annoying and intrusive, the bigger issue here is how did the company get its customers’ phone numbers to begin with? According to mogoRoad, the information came from Apple. The recipients of the unwanted calls said that they were contacted a few weeks after the initial installation of the mogoRoad application. An operator would then try to sell them the paid version of the mobile software. If pressed as to how the company got access to their phone number, the operator would generally respond that the information was provided by Apple. That seems unlikely since Apple does not provide this sort of private information to App Store developers nor does it provide direct access to that information via the iPhone SDK (software development kit), the tool used by developers to build their mobile apps. Apple Doesn’t Provide Phone Numbers, but They Do Provide AccessHowever, it’s not entirely inaccurate of the company to say that Apple did provide them with the customers’ phone numbers. Although Apple doesn’t directly give out this info, they do provide a relatively easy way for any app developer to retrieve mobile numbers from the phone. In other words, Apple didn’t give out the numbers in question, they just provided access to them.  Although mogoRoad won’t admit it, the most likely explanation as to how they retrieved the phone numbers involves the use of an undocumented feature which allows any Apple iPhone/iPod Touch application to access the phone number of the device on which it is installed. In an article on tech blog Ars Technica from earlier this year, the process of doing so was described as “a shockingly easy thing to do:” Apple sneaks in a hidden symbolic link between the app’s sandboxed preferences and a global preferences property list…Peek in Library/Preferences with “ls -a”. You’ll find a symbolic link to /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist, which is where (among other items), you’ll find a preference called SBFormattedPhoneNumber. This preference provides exactly what the name implies: the user’s phone number formatted to the current locale.In checking with multiple iPhone developers this morning, we confirmed that the trick still works as described above.It’s Not a Bug, It’s a FeatureBelieve it or not, this isn’t actually a security hole in need of patching – it’s more of a feature. “It’s important to remember that perfectly legit applications can reach your phone number plus your entire address book as well,” Ars Technica blogger Erica Sadun wrote back in January. “Applications can also obtain personal information from most of the iPhone file system…”While the large majority of app developers out there would never do anything quite so nefarious as what mogoRoad did and undoubtedly wouldn’t want to risk alienating their customers in this fashion, it’s unsettling to know that they could. And every time you install a mobile app, you’re putting yourself at risk. As of now, Apple hasn’t officially responded to requests for comment as to how they will proceed with regards to this situation, either to us or to the blog originally reporting this story, French site Mac4Ever. However, given that the development company has clearly abused an undocumented feature, that should be enough to get them booted out of the App Store…hopefully for good. Many thanks to MacWord, which pointed us to this story. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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SRCC wrestling venue deadline hits a dead end

first_imgThe sole Commonwealth Games (CWG) training venue for women wrestlers at Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) won’t be ready on time.The SRCC stadium has Delhi University (DU) officials and members of the CWG Organising Committee (OC) worried as it is expected to be ready only by September end.Participants, ironically, are scheduled to arrive on September 23. “About 20 per cent of the work is incomplete. It should be over by September 30,” said an OC member on the condition of anonymity. The SRCC stadium, however, has not been scrapped as a training venue.”The two other training facilities at the Games Villages and the Ludlo Castle, respectively, are ready and the wrestlers can practise there till the SRCC work is complete. Wrestlers with events scheduled after October 6 will be able to use this stadium,” the OC member added.The stadium, which is one out of the total three training venues designated for wrestling, is a project that missed several deadlines and has cost the exchequer close to Rs 18 crore.Built on the area where SRCC’s badminton, basketball and tennis court used to be, the stadium has a seating capacity of 1,200 and spans an area of 3,500 square metres.Though its tender was awarded to Engineers India Limited in early 2008, the work began only in April last year. The project has missed several deadlines since. Its last extended deadline was July 15.The delay has been blamed on incessant rainfall this year. “I am under the impression that the agency will be able to complete the work perfectly well if there is a dry spell of three to four days. Let’s be optimistic as it’s a matter of national pride and I am sure everything will fall in place in time,” Dinesh Singh, pro vice-chancellor, Delhi University, said.advertisementAuthorities said over 500 labourers had been working day and night for the past one week to ensure completion of the work before the participants arrive.While the inside of the stadium looked almost complete when MAIL TODAY visited the venue on Thursday (the maple wood flooring was incomplete and seats were not in place yet), the exterior and the surrounding areas were nothing close to being ready. The contractors on the site, however, claimed that just five per cent of the work was left and that the venue would be handed over to the OC by September 20.The college staff, however, are not too happy with the quality and progress of the work. “The agency has deputed hundreds of labourers on the site, but has made no toilet facility for them.The labourers defecate and relieve themselves in the drain that runs along the road leading up to the SRCC faculty and staff quarters. That apart, the constant digging has destroyed the road completely,” S. K. Chaudhury, an SRCC faculty member said.last_img read more

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State of Origin

first_imgThe New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) will host the Queensland Touch Association (QTA) at Tempe on Friday, 23 August and Saturday, 24 August 2008. The fiercest of rivals will compete in Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Mixed Open, Men’s 20’s, Women’s 20’s, Men’s 30’s, Women’s 30’s, Men’s 35’s, Women’s 35’s, Men’s 40’s, Women’s 40’s, Men’s 45’s, and Men’s 50’s divisions to determine the overall winner.The two states last competed in 2006 where NSWTA defeated QTA winning seven of the thirteen divisions. QTA will be looking to add to their three titles won since the inaugural State of Origin Series was conducted at the NSW State Cup in Port Macquarie in 1995.For more information about the 2008 State of Origin, please visit the website – http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?assoc=931&pID=14last_img read more

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