San Francisco Family Relief Fund helps struggling Bayview District residents

Some 800 families still struggling financially from the pandemic received help from the San Francisco Family Relief Fund in the Bayview District Wednesday.

Along with housing and job counseling and help fighting evictions, the families each receive a $1,000 gift card.

These are people who have fallen through the cracks during the pandemic. Casualties of a safety net system that for them, had holes in it.

Ashley Rushing ended up in a homeless shelter with her young son after her job as a home health care worker dried up.

"I lost my job due to the whole COVID scare. I just had my son. It was hard to have someone watch after him due to everything shut down. I was having a hard time and got depressed about it," she said.

Rushing said how she plans on spending the relief money.

"Definitely for my son. He does need more clothes because it is getting colder," said Rushing.

The fund has helped almost 5,000 families in the city.

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"When the pandemic hit there were resources available from the state government, the federal government. But they didn't hit everyone," said  San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, who helped create the fund for people who don't qualify for state and federal assistance.

"In some cases, these are undocumented mono-lingual families. These are folks who live in public housing. People who lost their jobs. And these were the types of jobs that weren't necessarily recognized at the beginning of the pandemic," he said.

One mother told us through an interpreter that when COVID struck she lost her job as a house cleaner. She has fallen behind in her rent. The relief today will help.

I'm going to use this money to pay rent and my utilities. Mine backed up utilities," said Laura Santiago.

Organizers say they expect to have more of these relief efforts, to help people find their footing during shaky times.