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‘A huge, huge toll’: For households reliant on two incomes, Covid job loss changed everything

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Stephanie Accolla’s career was on the rise. As a banquet manager with a contracting company that worked with the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, she prided herself on being a hardworking woman in management in her industry. She and her husband were on the verge of buying a home after years of saving money. Her dream was to give her 10-year-old stepson a place with a backyard where he could run.

Then it all came to a halt.

Accolla, 34, was released from her contract in April and filed for unemployment benefits along with millions of other people who found themselves without work as the coronavirus pandemic transformed the American economy — and people’s lives. Suddenly Accolla found herself as the full-time caretaker of her stepson, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and whose school switched to remote learning. The family now has only the income of her husband, who is a damage appraiser at an auto body shop.

The money they had saved for a down payment on a home now had to be spent on necessities, and the family had to rely on food stamps and free meals provided by the government. They now struggle to pay out-of-pocket health care […]

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