Talking About Finances with Survivors

Things to consider when talking to survivors about their finances during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • What are their needs?
    • Top priorities should be food, utilities, shelter, and transportation. These are basic needs that have to be taken care of. Once these four main components have been paid for then the survivor can make a list of what else needs to be paid and do them in an order of importance. 
    • There may be items on the list that don't get paid (cable, phone, loans, etc.), and it's okay. 
      • Suggest that the survivor reach out to their providers and see what kind of assistance they are offering. 
      • Vystar has deferred consumer loans for 60 days and a 90 day forbearance on mortgage loans. 
    • Suggest cutting subscription services, like Netflix. 
  • Creating a budget.
    • Discuss the survivors income and expenses to figure out ways to cutback. This is especially important if the survivor does not have any new income coming in right now. 
    • Discuss how much money the survivor has right now and divide it out for the month's bills to make sure the survivor can pay their necessities.
    • Having a budget will allow the survivor to stretch out dollars and take an honest look at the money they do have right now. 
  • Sell
    • This may not be possible for survivors, as we know that many leave relationships with only a few things to their name. However, ask the survivor if this is an option for them. 
    • It might not feel like a lot, but suggest that the survivor create a list of items that can be sold right now. 
    • Suggest that the survivor think about items that are laying around not being used. 
    • Things such as baby items, clothing, shoes, furniture, etc. 
    • Every little bit of extra money will help during this time. 
  • Remind survivors that it is okay to ask for help. Encourage them to reach out to their service providers, local community, and food banks for assistance. 

Self-Care Reminders

As advocates, it is important that we also practice self-care. If we are not taking care of ourselves, it will be very hard to provide services to survivors. Here are some ways we can practice self-care during the pandemic:
  • Maintain contact with support systems
    • Social distancing may not allow us to be around loved ones right now, however even a phone call or FaceTime with a friend or family member can keep us connected.
  • Get creative
    • Everyone has different outlets to relieve stress, Find yours. It may be journaling, painting, or even just reading a book.
  • Talk to a therapist
    • If feelings become overwhelming or are causing you anxiety, depression, or PTSD, seek professional counseling. Your therapist may be able to do phone calls or virtual sessions. 
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