Like a lot of people who approached us for help during the Covid-19 pandemic, Paul Kameny and his wife Carol hadn’t thought of themselves as likely to need community assistance. But Covid turned their life plans and their financial situation upside down. When they turned to Hebrew Free Loan, Paul and Carol were scrambling to find a way through.

“We’re immensely relieved, and we deeply appreciate the interest-free loan Hebrew Free Loan provided to carry us through the pandemic. We were embarrassed to ask for help, but now we realize that the community is here to help each other through thick and thin.”

Paul spent most of his career working in the San Francisco public schools, as a teacher, counselor, and administrator. Along the way, he and his wife Carol managed to buy a home in San Francisco as well as a small commercial property that houses a pilates studio. They were grateful for their good fortune and thought they were financially comfortable, all things considered.

Before the pandemic, Paul and Carol decided the time had come to sell their home and move into the Frank Residences at the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living. Carol has Alzheimer’s disease, and there she would have access to as much care and assistance as she needed. Paul started investing in repairs required to put their house on the market, until Covid changed everything.

It no longer seemed like a good idea to move into the SF Campus for Jewish Living, at the height of the pandemic and before vaccinations had arrived for anyone. Paul and Carol decided to age in place instead, and Paul shifted his focus to modifications that would make their home safe for Carol. He also started looking for a full-time caregiver, an expensive proposition.

At the same time, the Pilates studio that occupied their commercial space shut down during shelter-in-place, and Paul generously offered to reduce the rent by half. It was the right thing to do, but it put Paul and Carol into a financial bind. They couldn’t pay their property taxes that were coming due and didn’t have enough to hire the caregiver Carol needed. They tried to get a bank loan, but loans were hard to come by during the pandemic, especially for people in challenging financial circumstances.

Instead, Paul and Carol received an interest-free Covid Relief loan from Hebrew Free Loan to tide them over. The loan helped them pay their property taxes, complete modifications to their home, and cover the cost of Carol’s caregiver until income from the rental property bounces back.

Paul and Carol have had a long, full life together—they met at a Jewish Federation dance in San Francisco and have been married for over 50 years, with two grown children. With our assistance, they can now safely age in place in their long-time home, staying connected to their community and enjoying this next chapter of their lives.

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