But before she could get any money, she was told she had to attend a face-to-face interview –on the scheduled day, she was back in intensive care. They have had nothing to live on for two months.
Across South Wales people are seeing their working hours cut or losing their jobs entirely.
Many of the 5,000 jobs British Gas is cutting nationwide are being lost here; councils are also laying people off, with one in five jobs being lost in Rhondda Council.
Increasing unemployment affects the food bank – local people are generous, but simply can’t afford to make so many donations. Stock levels in the food bank are going down, and Liz tells me, "I just can’t see any end to it".
Yet, in this dire situation, people continue to take responsibility, innovate and support their communities.
Once a week, Liz and her husband drive to a local supermarket and bring back surplus food for their village church – everything is given away, no questions asked.
Other people do the same on other nights of the week. Nothing gets wasted. "If there’s too much bread, there’s donkeys on the mountain, and someone gives it to them!"
At the food bank, Liz tells me, "we’re all working together really well. We know what needs to be done. We don’t need someone to be in charge."
Sue, in the north of England, also tells me about how people worked together when the pandemic broke out.
Local foodbanks collaborated to create a single point of access to their service with one phone line. Volunteers came forward to deliver thousands of food parcels every day.
Now, as the government encourages people back to work, fewer people have the time to volunteer.
You might think that, if a vaccine becomes available in the spring, the worst will be over and we’ll start getting back to normal.
But that’s when some problems will really start, housing lawyer David Renton explains.
Between May and September, a ban on evictions was in place. It ended on 20 September, but the flood of evictions David and others feared hasn’t come about – so far.
Cases are being heard, at a much slower rate than normal, in socially distanced courts. No doubt some landlords are ignoring the legal procedure, harassing tenants into leaving, not doing repairs or forcing them to go.
But what seems to be happening more often is that evictions are on hold till the spring. By then, the numbers will be huge.
Back in July, housing charity Shelter estimated that 227,000 private tenants could be affected – add in council tenants, and the total is around half a million.
Early in the pandemic – when we clapped for the NHS, millions stepped forward to volunteer and it was easier to believe that we were all in this together – many people said that we can’t go back to the pre-covid world when this over.
That feeling we can build a better society on the other side of the pandemic is something we have to recover.
The good news is that local grassroots struggles around issues thrown up by covid – as well as top-down national networks with MPs and union leaders – are showing how that can happen.
Around 1000 students at the University of Bristol, for example, have signed up to join a rent strike and are withholding over £1 million. More than 200 Manchester Uni students are doing the same.
Students point out that they were charged thousands in tuition fees only to be told to isolate with little support – some were even unable to get food.
One of the organisers of the Manchester rent strike put it like this: "If I’d known it would be like this I wouldn’t have come, and I know a lot of people who feel the same way."
The students have linked up with local trade unionists from Manchester Trades Council and had two meetings with them and members of the community.
Tenants are also organising around the effects of covid. London Renters Union has almost doubled in membership and launched a Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay campaign to which over 4,000 signed up.
They have had some successes, including direct resistence of evictions.
Dana from Wandsworth explained: "My landlord tried to claim that I was a lodger so they could evict me. With support from the union, I stood up to the landlord and got them to back down."
James from Camden used the template letter from the union and his landlord agreed he wouldn’t have to pay rent from April to June.
A recent campaign against housing association Clarion has seen repair works begin that tenants had been waiting for for years.
The union is expanding, with a local group recently established, for example, in the south London borough of Wandsworth, who have taken part in the London-wide day of action in August, including protests outside courts.
Members started organising in Tower Hamlets at the beginning of the first lockdown, and this group has almost reached the size of a full branch. London Renters Union are currently recruiting an organiser to help support new branches like this.
In Scotland, the organisation Another Edinburgh is Possible has brought together community groups, trade unionists – especially from the local council – health workers and disability campaigners.
Around fifty people are involved and they are planning socially distanced street protests, including outside Edinburgh City Council’s Finance Committee at the end of this month.
They are setting up a social media presence, and have inspired activists in Glasgow to establish a similar group.
Edinburgh Black Lives Matter activists have also been highlighting the particular impact of the pandemic on BAME people and refugees.
These are the kind of initiatives we need to see nationwide in the months to come.
The huge number of local Black Lives Matter protests in the summer shows that there are still thousands of activists in Britain willing to take action for social change.
As the Tory response to the pandemic leads to increased unemployment, homelessness, mental health issues and food poverty – people actually without enough to eat in one of the world’s richest countries – a network of grassroots campaign groups can force them into yet more U-turns.
We said in the spring that we won’t go back after covid to the world we knew before it – we can make that vision a reality.
Colin Wilson is a member of RS21 and this article first appeared on its website.