‘I don’t think we’ve seen the worst.’ Housing instability exacerbates COVID-19 for thousands

By Melba Newsome
November 12, 2020

In 1981, Martha Brown moved to Charlotte from rural Rutherford County to escape an abusive relationship.

In the nearly 40 years since then, Brown has had more than her share of personal and health misfortunes but always managed to keep herself afloat with a series of low-paying jobs, including as a certified nursing assistant, hotel cleaner and restaurant worker.

Then the coronavirus pandemic came.

It took its toll on the 63-year-old one catastrophe at a time. Over the span of a few months, the virus attacked her health, took away her employment and destabilized her housing. Weeks after recovering, Brown wonders if her life will ever return to its pre-pandemic state.

This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center and The Charlotte Observer. It is co-published by The Observer, the Charlotte Post and N.C. Health News and is made available to the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative.

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The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems.