TUCSON, Ariz. — The pandemic has many people struggling.
“I just turned in the keys, went to the streets,” said Joam Yero, a Tucson man.
Yero fell on hard times after contracting a fever. He later found out he was positive for COVID-19. But until that discovery, his job told him to take some time off and to be sure to continue quarantining even 10 days after he was feeling better.
“The bad luck about all that situation was it was during the last of the month 'til pretty much the upcoming two weeks of when my rent was due. So, I didn't realize, because I was pretty bedridden, until later on. I woke up, felt a lot better. I went to my door and I found a notice, like an eviction notice,” said Joam.
Joam says he was unaware of the eviction moratorium due to COVID-19, so he thought he had to get out.
“I was like, 'Ok, I'm being evicted. I don't have the money to pay for the rent.' So I went downstairs to the management room, I let them know, and they told me, 'Alright, well we can at least not evict you, like make a full eviction, if you turn in the keys by Friday,” said Joam.
So that’s what he did. With no home and no current income, Joam was homeless for a month and a half - until he met Kyle. Kyle wishes to stay anonymous.
Joam was sleeping near a church, when he woke up and saw a non-profit event centered around voting happening and met Kyle.
"And I asked Kyle just simple stuff about the election and how I could vote, if I could vote. But after that, he asked me about what was going on. I explained the situation and from then on, he helped me a lot,” said Joam.
"I reached out to a community legal aid organization because I thought what his landlord did was very unethical and potentially illegal, and was just very frustrated that someone would do that to somebody at this time,” said Kyle.
Kyle helped shelter Joam, got his phone service back, helped him finally receive a COVID-19 test and reactivated his debit card.
“Later found out that his stimulus check had been mailed to the wrong address earlier in the year, so he never got that. Nearly half of all Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings. So you can imagine, if you lose your job and you're not getting sick pay, how easy it would be to fall in a position where you're not able to afford your rent or afford you food. It was very clear to me that this was just somebody who ended up in a very unfortunate event that it could have easily been me or a family member,” said Kyle.
Kyle and Joam eventually learned they went to the same middle school, a few years apart.
Joam is also a veteran, having been stationed in Oahu, Hawaii from 2017 to 2019.
“Personally, I’m not a religious person, but if I was, I would say it was probably a sign from God. That there are people out there who are very kind and actually caring about complete strangers they’ve never met. And to see that such people existed was very, very shocking At the very most, I feel blessed,” said Joan.
"I just felt like it was the least I could do to just offer up a little bit of my time and privilege, honestly, to share that with somebody who fell into unfortunate circumstances,” said Kyle.
Thanks to Kyle, Joam is now back on his feet and almost to the point where he was before getting sick with coronavirus. He was also able to track down his stimulus check. To support Joam, donate to his GoFundMe page.