What does ‘doing family while poor’ teach us about agency, resilience and care under COVID-19? Set against a dual backdrop of increasing economic hardships and expanding inequalities, and in light of a shifting perspective in poverty and family studies, we employ David Morgan’s family practices approach to study the lived realities of family life through the perspective of everyday relationships. Our research, led by a team comprised of academics and activists who themselves endure poverty, is set to allow people experiencing poverty to document their everyday lives. In their journals we identify a form of social awareness to the politics of poverty, which consist of negative emotions emanating from one’s daily struggles against the harsh reality of inequality, yet do not lead to paralysis and inaction. We dub this state agentic hopelessness.