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Struggling families and elders are worse off now than during the shutdown.

Dear Evanston,

Please read, share and take to heart this statement by Michele Hays, founder and admin of Back On Their Feet - Evanston.


"Struggling families and elders are worse off now than during the shutdown.

Michele Hays

I know many of you know that I administrate a mutual aid group: it gives me a bird's eye view of how things are for people working in jobs most of us don't want to do. I really need to you to understand that things are very, very bleak.

Last year, and even during the Trump administration, everyone suddenly understood how difficult it is to get access to housing, food, clothing, transportation and childcare. Mutual Aid groups bloomed across social media and poised themselves to address these problems.

Unfortunately, now that things are better for those of us who have safe homes and an income, all of that aid has dried up. There is some limited Federal aid for rent, and the same broken systems we've always had, but the change in the weather has brought 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 than we ever had before.

Our group can only manage one fundraiser at a time - right now, requests are stacked five deep for support with emergency housing, help with transportation, and we have a constant stream of requests for basic groceries for families under quarantine.

The local systems providing for those things during the shutdown are now gone or too overloaded to help.


I'm doing what I can to get out information on who needs what, but I'm limited. If you are personally not in dire straits, I am asking every one of you to set aside some money each week for a local GoFundMe of your choosing. It really doesn't matter if it's been "vetted" or not (GFM does have a system where you can ask questions if a fundraiser doesn't look right to you.) At this point, GFM is the only resource some people have to stay housed, fed, clothed, safe, and able to work.

Back On Their Feet always has our latest fundraiser pinned at the top of the page, and we do ask for your generosity - but many of the people who we've asked to wait have created fundraisers on their own.

Please also look for those by searching "Evanston, IL" (or wherever you live: this is a national and probably international problem right now) on GoFundMe's website.

Please also contact your elected officials at the State and National level and ask that more financial support be made available with fewer restrictions. It's not just individuals and hospitals suffering under the weight of the Omicron wave, it's small businesses and schools, too. We need to think about how best to get the resources to those who need them the fastest way possible.

My heart is breaking for all the people we can't help. Please."

—- Michele Hays

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