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LeeCARES already helping families make ends meet during coronavirus pandemic

We get so many emails about how tough the state’s unemployment website is to navigate. One Lee County website has proven to be so much easier.

This is great news because there are tens of thousands of people in Lee County, families and business owners, who need help making ends meet during this pandemic.

When the clock on Courtney Attardo’s computer hit 8 this morning, she got busy. The next few minutes, critical to her financial future.

She and thousands of people like her raced to apply for rent or mortgage and utility assistance from Lee County.

“It’s like, I gotta beat this many people,” she said.

Attardo and her husband are behind on their bills.

“Right now at the mortgage, the electric, the water, we owe over $2,000,” she said.

That’s why Lee County created LeeCARES as a way to help people financially recover from this pandemic.

“I got a paycheck last week and that’s nice but it’s completely gone already. Like I won’t see any of that. It’ll hit the bank account and will be lucky if we don’t overdraft,” Attardo said.

There are thousands of more families who don’t have childcare options if or when they get called back to work, so Lee County also created a child care assistance program.

“What this is going to offer families is the opportunity to start back to work and to provide those dollars that their families have been missing for months,” said Jeannine Joy with the United Way.

She says she expects the program will accept two to three thousand kids over the summer.

As for Attardo, she hopes to finally get some help, because right now, her top priority is the smiling face sitting on her lap.

“You have to worry about making sure there’s food and making sure she has what she needs,” she said.

Tuesday evening, Attardo said not only did Lee County process her application, but they approved her case, with $1,900 now on the way to her mortgage and utilities companies, making her current on those payments once again.

The company doesn’t guarantee that fast of a response for everyone, instead saying to expect a one to three-week turnaround.

There is still time for you to apply. You can find more information on the Lee CARES program here.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Briana Harvath
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