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Her hours cut to almost nothing, she spent the time trying to launch a new career.

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Joann Taylor, a catering coordinator at a McAlister’s Deli franchise in Houston, used to work about 30 hours per week. But when the pandemic hit, her boss put her in an on-call position for deliveries only.

As a result, her hours were cut so severely — sometimes to two hours a week, or none at all — that she qualified for unemployment benefits, including $300 a week before taxes in Texas state benefits and a $600 federal supplement.

But when the $600 payments expired at the end of July, Ms. Taylor began struggling to pay her monthly bills, including $1,240 in rent, $180 for electricity, a $240 car payment and $155 for auto insurance.

Ms. Taylor, 45, is a single mother of two daughters, 6 and 14. In early September, she got a month’s worth of $300 weekly payments from Lost Wages Assistance, a short-term federal supplement to unemployment insurance, which she used to pay her September rent.

Determined to provide for her daughters, she used the time while underemployed to get a license to sell life and health insurance. Now she’s looking for an agency to take her on, hoping for steadier income.

But until then, without further aid from Congress, she’s worried about paying the rent and buying groceries for her family.

“I will have to go to every church around me and ask for help,” she said. “I will stand in food lines with the kids because I cannot leave them at home. I will apply anywhere that I can for help because there’s no way that I can allow us to be homeless.”

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