For home care workers, COVID-19 is a health crisis and an economic one

When COVID-19 came to New Orleans, Nicole Alston felt the impact immediately.

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Alston, 45, is a home care worker who helped clients – often older people or those with disabilities – eat, bathe and get dressed. 

As her family’s breadwinner, Alston earns $8.50 per hour. The money’s barely enough. She and her husband are both diabetic. Her 19-year-old daughter, also diabetic, and 16-year-old nephew live at home with her. On weekdays, she takes care of three of her grandchildren.

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Before the pandemic, Alston, who works through a home care company, saw five clients regularly and worked 40 hours a week. Now, the only client she cares for is her husband, who is vision-impaired. He has coverage

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