The Appeal: The Financial Toll of COVID-19 Deaths

Organizations in New York City have stepped in to help families with funeral costs and related matters in communities hit hard by the disease, but their money and resources are strained.

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is never easy. For a low-income family during a global pandemic, it can be overwhelming.

In New York City, more than 23,000 people have most likely died from COVID-19, and the deaths have been concentrated in low-income neighborhoods. About 19 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty. 

Systems in place to help grieving loved ones locate a body and pay for a funeral have been overwhelmed or difficult to navigate. It’s been even more complicated for immigrants, who make up over a third of the city’s population; for undocumented immigrants, some of these systems have been inaccessible.

“All they want is to have some sense of closure on this tragedy, but in the moment, they have no idea what to do,” said Theo Oshiro, deputy director of the community organizing group Make the Road New York.

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