Coronavirus hits home for west Mountain family

Community Apr 02, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Mohammad Tanvir Hassan saw it coming.

The 40-year-old married father of two boys was laid off from his job at the downtown Sheraton Hotel on March 19 due to a lack of business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was not surprised by the layoff,” said the west Mountain resident who was working as a front desk guest service agent.

He noted some of his friends had been laid off previously as a result of the pandemic.

Hassan’s wife, Omma Salma, had been working five hours a week at the Hamilton Community Food Centre and was moved to the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre food bank after the food centre closed last month.

The couple are originally from Bangladesh.

Hassan noted his monthly expenses  including rent, utilities, insurance and car payments  add up to about $2,000 per month.

“This month (April) maybe we can survive, but we don’t know (about) the next couple of months. If we don’t have any jobs, how (do we) run our family?" said Hassan. “I’m not optimistic at this moment because I don’t know how long the pandemic (will go), maybe another four or five months.”

Hassan said he applied for employment insurance the day he was laid off but has not heard back. He’s in the cue, but doesn’t know when his benefits will start flowing.

Hassan said he asked the building manager at their apartment complex about possibly delaying their rent and was told it still had to be paid.

Provincially, the Ford government has placed a ban on apartment evictions.

“In response to the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice and sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced,” says a notice on the Ontario government website.

Meanwhile, Salma is trying to put a brave face on their situation.

At least I have a job,” she said. “I’m worried. I have two kids and I don’t know what to do.

Salma said she has used the food bank at Neighbour to Neighbour Centre once since her husband was laid off.

Questions about employment insurance and the emergency measures announced by the Trudeau government are keeping staff hopping in the constituency office of Hamilton Mountain MP Scott Duvall.

“We’ve had a massive increase in calls due to EI claims," said Duvall, who noted the number of employment insurance-related calls have gone from an average five or six a week to “hundreds” as of March.

“We had 100 calls last week and 100 calls the week before,” said Duvall, who has increased his office staff from three to four to handle all the inquiries.

He noted one staffer is in the office and the other three are working from home.

Duvall said people are calling his office because they can’t get through to Service Canada or they hang up after waiting on hold for two to three hours.

“People are just frustrated,” Duvall said.

He pledged his staff will answer all EI questions, but it could take more than a day or two for them to respond.

His office can be reached via Scott.Duvall@parl.gc.ca or 905-574-3331.

Duvall said he was on a multi-party call this morning (April 2) with Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

“We were trying to find some technical answers; who is eligible and who isn’t when it comes to the EI emergency fund.”

There appears to be no simple answer.

“It’s very complicated,” Duvall said.

The NDP MP said he agrees the Trudeau government is working hard to address the coronavirus pandemic, but wishes information could be provided quicker and specific details were included with each announcement.

“We’re on the inside and even we can’t get the answers,” Duvall said. “We’re in unprecedented waters.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to tell the stories of how families who have been hit by layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic are coping.

 

Coronavirus hits home for west Hamilton Mountain family

Mohammad Hassan searching for answers from EI #financialwellbeing

Community Apr 02, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Mohammad Tanvir Hassan saw it coming.

The 40-year-old married father of two boys was laid off from his job at the downtown Sheraton Hotel on March 19 due to a lack of business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was not surprised by the layoff,” said the west Mountain resident who was working as a front desk guest service agent.

He noted some of his friends had been laid off previously as a result of the pandemic.

Related Content

Hassan’s wife, Omma Salma, had been working five hours a week at the Hamilton Community Food Centre and was moved to the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre food bank after the food centre closed last month.

The couple are originally from Bangladesh.

Hassan noted his monthly expenses  including rent, utilities, insurance and car payments  add up to about $2,000 per month.

“This month (April) maybe we can survive, but we don’t know (about) the next couple of months. If we don’t have any jobs, how (do we) run our family?" said Hassan. “I’m not optimistic at this moment because I don’t know how long the pandemic (will go), maybe another four or five months.”

Hassan said he applied for employment insurance the day he was laid off but has not heard back. He’s in the cue, but doesn’t know when his benefits will start flowing.

Hassan said he asked the building manager at their apartment complex about possibly delaying their rent and was told it still had to be paid.

Provincially, the Ford government has placed a ban on apartment evictions.

“In response to the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice and sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced,” says a notice on the Ontario government website.

Meanwhile, Salma is trying to put a brave face on their situation.

At least I have a job,” she said. “I’m worried. I have two kids and I don’t know what to do.

Salma said she has used the food bank at Neighbour to Neighbour Centre once since her husband was laid off.

Questions about employment insurance and the emergency measures announced by the Trudeau government are keeping staff hopping in the constituency office of Hamilton Mountain MP Scott Duvall.

“We’ve had a massive increase in calls due to EI claims," said Duvall, who noted the number of employment insurance-related calls have gone from an average five or six a week to “hundreds” as of March.

“We had 100 calls last week and 100 calls the week before,” said Duvall, who has increased his office staff from three to four to handle all the inquiries.

He noted one staffer is in the office and the other three are working from home.

Duvall said people are calling his office because they can’t get through to Service Canada or they hang up after waiting on hold for two to three hours.

“People are just frustrated,” Duvall said.

He pledged his staff will answer all EI questions, but it could take more than a day or two for them to respond.

His office can be reached via Scott.Duvall@parl.gc.ca or 905-574-3331.

Duvall said he was on a multi-party call this morning (April 2) with Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

“We were trying to find some technical answers; who is eligible and who isn’t when it comes to the EI emergency fund.”

There appears to be no simple answer.

“It’s very complicated,” Duvall said.

The NDP MP said he agrees the Trudeau government is working hard to address the coronavirus pandemic, but wishes information could be provided quicker and specific details were included with each announcement.

“We’re on the inside and even we can’t get the answers,” Duvall said. “We’re in unprecedented waters.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to tell the stories of how families who have been hit by layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic are coping.

 

Coronavirus hits home for west Hamilton Mountain family

Mohammad Hassan searching for answers from EI #financialwellbeing

Community Apr 02, 2020 by Mark Newman Hamilton Mountain News

Mohammad Tanvir Hassan saw it coming.

The 40-year-old married father of two boys was laid off from his job at the downtown Sheraton Hotel on March 19 due to a lack of business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was not surprised by the layoff,” said the west Mountain resident who was working as a front desk guest service agent.

He noted some of his friends had been laid off previously as a result of the pandemic.

Related Content

Hassan’s wife, Omma Salma, had been working five hours a week at the Hamilton Community Food Centre and was moved to the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre food bank after the food centre closed last month.

The couple are originally from Bangladesh.

Hassan noted his monthly expenses  including rent, utilities, insurance and car payments  add up to about $2,000 per month.

“This month (April) maybe we can survive, but we don’t know (about) the next couple of months. If we don’t have any jobs, how (do we) run our family?" said Hassan. “I’m not optimistic at this moment because I don’t know how long the pandemic (will go), maybe another four or five months.”

Hassan said he applied for employment insurance the day he was laid off but has not heard back. He’s in the cue, but doesn’t know when his benefits will start flowing.

Hassan said he asked the building manager at their apartment complex about possibly delaying their rent and was told it still had to be paid.

Provincially, the Ford government has placed a ban on apartment evictions.

“In response to the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, no new eviction orders will be issued until further notice and sheriff’s offices will postpone any scheduled enforcement of current eviction orders. Tenants must pay rent while an eviction order is not being enforced,” says a notice on the Ontario government website.

Meanwhile, Salma is trying to put a brave face on their situation.

At least I have a job,” she said. “I’m worried. I have two kids and I don’t know what to do.

Salma said she has used the food bank at Neighbour to Neighbour Centre once since her husband was laid off.

Questions about employment insurance and the emergency measures announced by the Trudeau government are keeping staff hopping in the constituency office of Hamilton Mountain MP Scott Duvall.

“We’ve had a massive increase in calls due to EI claims," said Duvall, who noted the number of employment insurance-related calls have gone from an average five or six a week to “hundreds” as of March.

“We had 100 calls last week and 100 calls the week before,” said Duvall, who has increased his office staff from three to four to handle all the inquiries.

He noted one staffer is in the office and the other three are working from home.

Duvall said people are calling his office because they can’t get through to Service Canada or they hang up after waiting on hold for two to three hours.

“People are just frustrated,” Duvall said.

He pledged his staff will answer all EI questions, but it could take more than a day or two for them to respond.

His office can be reached via Scott.Duvall@parl.gc.ca or 905-574-3331.

Duvall said he was on a multi-party call this morning (April 2) with Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion.

“We were trying to find some technical answers; who is eligible and who isn’t when it comes to the EI emergency fund.”

There appears to be no simple answer.

“It’s very complicated,” Duvall said.

The NDP MP said he agrees the Trudeau government is working hard to address the coronavirus pandemic, but wishes information could be provided quicker and specific details were included with each announcement.

“We’re on the inside and even we can’t get the answers,” Duvall said. “We’re in unprecedented waters.”


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Hamilton Community News wanted to tell the stories of how families who have been hit by layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic are coping.