Story Review Highlights Worries About Utility Bills

Date of Session: April 9, 2020

Community members in Boynton Beach participated in a virtual sensemaking session facilitated by Palm Health Foundation. Below are some of their observations:

  • Like the youth in Delray Beach, participants in Boynton also observed that experiences of the COVID-19 crisis vary greatly. One person noted that their own story felt like “venting” compared to others describing far worse experiences. Participants considered venting itself as helpful.
  • Many stories involve serious financial worries. People are worried about bills piling up, whether they will get a stimulus check, or if they’ll be left out. Further, the timing of assistance is a huge concern.
  • Participants commented on the plight of essential workers and noted that the African American community has a disproportionate number of essential workers.
  • High school seniors are upset that graduation was cancelled and faced a disappointing end to the school year.
  • Older storytellers remarked on the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic.

The future of Palm Beach County became a topic of discussion with some concerned that delayed or insufficient quarantine measures, public sentiments, and financial losses were leading to a bleak future. Participants agreed that storytelling gives community members a sense that there is help available, and having a voice is beneficial.

What can we do?

After discussing the stories, participants discussed what they could do to help.

  • Start a petition for utility debt forgiveness.
  • Invite the mayors, commissioners, and Rep. Joe Cassella to the next conversation and make sure they hear the stories.
  • Develop messaging to educate people about health risks and social distancing.