James Robb liked working at the Delhi McDonald’s. Three days a week, he’d clean and maintain the lobby and dining area, restock items and take out the trash. The franchise was planning a temporary closure for remodeling after Easter, and he expected to be out of work for a few weeks. But when Gov. Mike DeWine closed restaurants and bars throughout Ohio, Robb suddenly found himself without a job.
“I think he knew something was going to happen, so it wasn’t a total shock,” said Diane Idker, his aunt and advocate. “Shutting down restaurants was the right thing to do, but I worried about how it was going to impact him. I can explain what happened, but he doesn’t always retain it.”
He saved some money, mainly to get a new apartment closer to his family, and the pandemic put his plans on hold. Robb said he “wasn’t happy” when he realized he couldn’t work and his planned move, along with other activities, were paused. On top of losing his job because of COVID-19, his rent increased and his regular routine was disrupted.
Idker reached out to his HCDDS service and support administrator and benefits representative for assistance. They helped him manage his rent increase and get changes to his SNAP benefits.
The responsiveness of her nephew’s team at HCDDS has been crucial during this time and since she took over caring for him.
“I knew nothing about how the system works. I can call his team and rely on their advice, where before I was fumbling,” she said. “They’ve been really helpful so I can understand how everything works to help him. They are good at getting me the answers I need so I can relay that James and let him know ‘You’re going to be OK, this is what’s happening and how we are handling it.’”
Robb is looking forward to getting back to work, but he’s not sure if he’ll go back to McDonald’s. “I would like to get some money so I can find another apartment,” he said. “I would like to put a check in the bank and not have to use my SNAP card all the time. I also want paper money to spend if I need to, but right now everything is closed.”