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Austin cleaning woman receives community support

COVID-19 concerns scared off some of her clients, she said.

AUSTIN, Texas — Many are expected to fall behind on their rents and mortgages after coronavirus concerns caused layoffs and lost business.

Denise Meredith Seay is one of those affected by COVID-19 concerns. But it wasn't always that way.

"I was working four days a week, cleaning three houses or businesses a day – just steady, everything was fine," Seay said.

Three weeks ago, business slowed.

"As I would text people, it would just be like, 'Well we're afraid to have people in the house and you're in other people's houses," she said.

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That left Seay with money problems.

"I don't have my car payment. I don't have all my rent," Seay told KVUE on April 1.

The money problems, on top of the escalating coronavirus worries, all got to be too much for Seay's partner.

"She had a nervous breakdown seven days ago because of all the news and because of all the money problems – and because my customers are letting us go. She just lost it," Seay said.

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She told KVUE she was hoping to find more cleaning jobs, turning to the community for help. She's not just tidying up; she said she's sanitizing.

"I do wear gloves. I go in and wipe off all the light switches, all the doorknobs, all the faucets, remote controls," she said.

After KVUE ran this story, Shay said she received nearly 20 text messages, hundreds of dollars in donations and several offers of jobs.

"Oh my God, I just want to say thank you to all the people that sent me a text or didn't need cleaning and sent me something anyway, and I just want to say I'm super grateful," Shay said.

She said she was able to pay April's rent and car payment. And while next month is uncertain, she is checking out new offers.

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