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Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

More than 10 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last two weeks alone. And that number will rise. TPR is reaching out to people who are now out of work, and we want to hear from you. Email dominic@tpr.org with your experience. 

Ryan Vestil

Ryan Vestil is a photographer who specializes in music events.
Credit Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio
Ryan Vestil is a photographer who specializes in music events.

Photographer Ryan Vestil specializes in music events. He took photos during concerts at the Aztec Theatre, Paper Tiger and huge festivals like SXSW, which was one of the first major events to be canceled. Vestil still has a day job, but the loss of photography income has taken a toll. 

Georgia Parker

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Credit Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio
Georgia Parker is a western swing musician.

Georgia Parker is a Boerne, Texas-based musician. She relies on weekly gigs with her band, Big Cedar Fever, for income. She’s out of work for the foreseeable future because of the coronavirus pandemic. Western swing is her passion.

Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

Imagine Books and Records

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Credit Dominic Anthony / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Don and Irma Hurd own Imagine Books and Records.

Irma and Don Hurd opened Imagine Books and Records in 2011. It’s a place where young people go to feel safe, where you can buy countercultural books and hear underground music. 

Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

Now the couple wonders if Imagine Books and Records can survive the coronavirus pandemic.  

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Credit Courtesy of Oscar Moreno
Imagine Books and Records has hosted hundreds of shows over the years.

Racheal O'Riley

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Credit Dominic Anthony / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Racheal O'Riley lost their job at the Flying Saucer.

Racheal O’Riley worked at the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium on the northwest side of San Antonio. It is now closed due to the pandemic, so O’Riley is out of work. They moved in with the Hurds. O’Riley’s lease ends this month, and they are still gathering funds to pay this month’s rent and any late fees. 

Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

Bexar County has halted rental evictions until April 22, but questions remain for people without income who can’t pay their rent after that date. County Judge Nelson Wolff said the order might be extended. 

Chris Conde

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Credit Courtesy of Oscar Moreno
Chris Conde is a San Antonio-based musician and writer.

Chris Conde wrote for the San Antonio Current for four years — one year as a freelancer, and three as a full-time staff member. He was laid off in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic along with several other staffers. 

Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

Conde is also a rapper, but live performances are suspended for the foreseeable future. He is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and the loss of work combined with the stay-at-home order is especially isolating. 

Quest O'Neal

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Credit Dominic Anthony / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Quest O'Neal is a competitor on NBC's American Ninja Warrior and a server and bartender at Pat O'Brien's.

Quest O’Neal worked at Pat O’Brien’s, which is now closed because of the pandemic. O’Neal also goes by another name — “The Golden Child” on NBC’s show American Ninja Warrior.

Out Of Work, But Rent Is Due: The Voices Of Unemployed Texans

The immediate future of the show is unclear, but O’Neal is still training. 

This story will be updated. 

Dominic Anthony can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.