CHARLOTTE — It's been more than a month since Mansfield Hyatt has stepped into his barbershop. On a typical Tuesday, he'd be busy clipping and styling hair.
"I can’t wait to get back in and start working,” he told Channel 9. “It’s like my fingers, I can feel the vibration in my hands, waiting for me."
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With no income, Hyatt is relying on savings to pay for housing and his rental space at My Salon Suite at the Metropolitan in Midtown. He’s also supporting his son and two other family members at home.
“Just wondering how soon it will be until we can go back to work so that we don’t drain all of our savings?” asked Hyatt.
Hyatt told Channel 9 that a friend referred him to Common Wealth Charlotte, which is helping those in the restaurant, food service, hospitality, retail, customer service, call center, professional services (hair stylists, nail technicians, pet groomers, etc.), transit (Uber/Lyft) and other service industries that were impacted by the pandemic.
The nonprofit gave Hyatt a $750 loan so he could continue to pay for things like utility bills, food and gas.
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Chuck Jones, with Common Wealth Charlotte, said they've already given out 140 loans, totaling $110,000. The loans are made possible through a grant by the COVID-19 Response Fund.
“To qualify for the loan, you have to be a Mecklenburg County resident and you have to work in one of those service industries,” Jones said. “The maximum loan is $750. It’s a zero-percent interest loan, and with a 12-month repayment after a six month no payment grace period.”
Jones said a loan on May 1 would not have a payment due until November 1. He also said clients receive extensive follow-up financial counseling at no cost and that repayment of the loan once employment returns can have a positive effect on credit scores.
They have both English and Spanish speaking advisors.
“It feels good for places like Common Wealth that came and stepped in,” Hyatt said. “You can see, for someone who is normally working and carrying their own, then all of a sudden smacked in the face with this predicament.”
Common Wealth Charlotte expects the need will only grow in the coming weeks. The organization is requesting additional grant money from the COVID-19 Response Fund so they can continue to provide services.
Common Wealth Charlotte said they also offer financial counseling services. So far, they've helped 500 people figure out ways to remain self-sufficient during the pandemic.
If you want to learn more you can text the word “finances” to 47-47-47 (Mande un texto con la palabra FINANZAS al 474747).