Life during COVID-19: The story of Brandon Allen

Article written by Ty Johnson.

As we transition into the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, many lives are changing. Some families can thrive through these trying times. These residents are still employed, able to pay their bills, and can feed themselves and their families. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Many people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their way of living.

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Those whose lives have been negatively influenced by COVID-19 aren’t at the forefront of public consciousness. Due to this pandemic, many people don’t have shelter, or know when their next meal will be. Their stories deserve to be shared, and their voices deserve to be heard. With that being said, I would like to introduce the world to Brandon Allen*.

Brandon is a soon-to-be nineteen year old African American male from Baltimore, Maryland. Before the pandemic, he was employed at Howard County Office of WorkForce Development where he had worked for almost a year. Having just received a promotion, Brandon was to transition into a higher position at another Government Office in Howard County. Brandon had made plans to move out of his home that he shared with his mother and younger sister to start his own life. 

However, the arrival of the COVID-19 threw his life off course. At the beginning of the pandemic, Brandon was able to attend work for a week. He hasn’t been to work since. He had left his mother’s as the virus began, thinking he would be able to rent an apartment, because the virus wasn’t as detrimental as it is today. He was wrong. Brandon had nowhere to live, and only one paycheck to survive on. He was able to stay in a motel for about 14 days. 

During this time, Brandon was losing morale. He was running out of money, missing meals, and he had been laid off until further notice. Brandon wanted to give up; however, a good friend of his wouldn’t let him. After a few pep talks and some tough love, Brandon was back on his feet. He knew he had to do something to change his fate. So, Brandon reached out to his supervisor. She helped him find a better place in Howard County to live temporarily, and connected him with a non-profit organization who could help him find permanent housing.

While Brandon may not have a job yet, he’s applied to places that are still open such as: Amazon, Costco, Walmart, etc. Brandon and I recently had a discussion about his mental health. He stated, “ Currently I feel mentally stable. Previously, I was conflicted with myself about my actions that led me to homelessness. I didn’t know if I had made the right choices at the time. Since I’ve been out of my past situation, I’ve had time to reflect on the choices I’ve made. I realized that I’m better off now. I’m doing better mentally. I’ve made the best out of a bad situation. You can only deal the cards you’ve been dealt.”

Brandon has no worries about his life anymore. He may not have a job, a place to call home, or a stable income, but one thing he has is faith– faith that life will get better.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

*Alias name to allow Interviewee to remain anonymous

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