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Early Arrival: How New Yorkers Spent Their Excluded Workers Fund Money

Many families gained financial stability thanks to money from the Excluded Workers Fund. It helped people maintain their homes, keep their families together, pay medical bills, and start new forms of businesses.

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Documented has spoken with more than 60 beneficiaries of the $2.1 billion New York state program that awarded up to $15,600 to those ineligible for federal pandemic relief and unemployment benefits. 

In today’s exclusive read, Community Correspondent Rommel H. Ojeda tells the story of how some of these workers spent their EWF money. 

36-year-old Ana, a house cleaner and masseuse, spent over six months without work. After the pandemic hit, it took a while before her clients were comfortable enough to let her into their homes again. She ran out of savings and fell four months behind on rent. When she resumed work, most of her clients had moved out of the city. She made around $400 a week before the pandemic, but months in, was making barely $100.

Ana later came across a notification about the Excluded Workers Fund through Documented’s WhatsApp community. She received a one-time payment of $14,820 after she applied. She has used the money to pay over $4,000 worth of rent, and buy equipment for a massage therapy business that she set up in her home. 

“These things are very expensive, which is why I never thought about launching a business [on my own],” she said. “Thanks to the money, I was able to.”

Ana also used the EWF money when, after Hurricane Ida hit, her landlord left her to fix her house on her own.

Read the full report exclusively on Documented.

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