A statewide survey, conducted by United Ways of Texas in cooperation with local United Ways including United Way of Tarrant County, found that Texans are facing many challenges due to the pandemic including meeting basic needs.
The survey also found some Texas communities and populations are being hit disproportionately hard, and a majority of Texans are very worried about the health and economic wellbeing of their communities, United Way of Tarrant County said in a news release.
In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, key findings include:
– The top concerns among individuals is contracting COVID-19 (67%), followed by the economic health of the community (59%), mental health issues (40%), remote learning during the upcoming school year (38%) and attending church or other social gatherings (37%).
– When asked about resources needed for their households, the most common answer was “help with bills” (22%) followed by new job opportunities (20%), assistance with paying rent/mortgage (18%), technology to assist with remote working and learning (15%) and health insurance coverage (13%).
– To make ends meet during the pandemic, 22% said they increased the balance on credit cards, 21% said they applied for unemployment, 17% used a food pantry/food bank, 15% borrowed from family or friends and 12% applied for food stamps/SNAP.
– Seventy-five percent of Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex households received a stimulus check. Among those, 34% said the check would cover family/household expenses for two weeks or less and the majority used the checks for rent or mortgage (37%), utilities (35%) and food (32%).
– Among seniors, the top concern was contracting COVID-19 (74%), the economic health of the community (71%), attending church or other social gatherings (44%), mental health issues (34%) and medical issues other than COVID-19 (26%).
Key survey findings statewide include:
– Most people expressed an overwhelming fear of catching COVID-19 (65%), followed by a concern for their communities (61%).
– Households earning below the Federal Poverty Level were nearly three times as likely to experience a high effect of COVID-19, and the Hispanic households were twice as likely as white households.
– Households are using federal relief to make ends meet. Cares Act stimulus checks were most often used for utilities (38%), food (38%) or housing (36%).
– People in hospitality, arts/entertainment/food, construction and sales report the greatest impact of COVID-19, while utilities and those outside the labor force report the least effect.
– Job loss affected low-income households the most with job loss at 60% for those in poverty.
United Ways of Texas in partnership with local United Ways across the state released the statewide survey to help shed light on the impact of COVID-19 on Texas communities, and to better understand the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on diverse Texas communities.
In addition, the survey aims to guide and inform United Ways across the state on how to best support Texas families through long-term recovery and beyond.
“Understanding our communities is what United Way does best; however, we always want to be sure we are listening, turning outward and capturing the voice of the community,” said Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, president of United Ways of Texas. “This survey allowed for us to hear from people around the state to let us know how they’ve been affected, where they need the most assistance, what their biggest concerns are, and to tell us more about what communities in the state may be struggling more than others.”
“The survey reinforces what we have seen first-hand in Tarrant County,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “COVID-19 has greatly affected our community with many families struggling to make ends meet. And it has been even harder for vulnerable populations including low income families, senior citizens and children. Basic needs such as food, mortgage and rent, utilities and medications continue to be the most needed.”
The survey was administered from June 1-28 and made available in both English and Spanish. The results make it clear that some Texas populations and communities, such as women, low income households, families of color, and individuals working in hospitality, arts/entertainment/food, construction, and trade/retail sales are bearing the brunt of the impact. Of note, 89% of single mothers reported a moderate to high effect of the virus.
The COVID-19 survey has provided a snapshot of critical needs in the state of Texas due to the coronavirus, and United Way of Tarrant County hopes that the results will help guide conversations, community action, advocacy and policy ensuring resources are allocated to support those in need.
Since mid-March, United Way of Tarrant County invested $1.4 million from the Emergency Relief Fund, assisting more than 550,000 people impacted by COVID 19. In addition, through federal and state grants administered by the Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County, more than 203,268 meals have been delivered to 2,480 senior citizens. Total for this effort is $1,113,636.
United Way also established the “Rebuild Tarrant County Fund” to provide long-term assistance to the community as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The new fund replaces the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and represents the organization’s shift from emergency response to ongoing recovery efforts. Donations can be made online atwww.rebuildtarrant.org
|REBUILDTARRANT.ORG“Crowley House of Hope is humbled to stand with our neighbors in their time of need, with the help of United Way of Tarrant County.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarah* contacted Crowley House of Hope for financial assistance with her rent.www.rebuildtarrant.org|
– FWBP Staff