A roller coaster of social needs in Nebraska

Up, then down, then up again. Like other 2-1-1s around the U.S., calls to 2-1-1 in Nebraska for help with food, housing and healthcare increased sharply as the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March. Then – also like other 2-1-1s – requests slowly declined through much of April. What happened next, though, is unique to Nebraska. Requests to 2-1-1 started rising again in a second wave of calls. This may be due to coronavirus outbreaks in 12 meat packing plants in Nebraska that collectively employ nearly 20,000 workers, and have reported over 1,600 cases, many in recent weeks. Also prominent in the chart below is the dramatic surge in 2-1-1 requests on May 1. On that day, besides being the first of the month when many rent payments are due, the United Way of the Midlands opened applications for a housing stability program offering rent and mortgage assistance. Analyses examined requests to Nebraska 2-1-1 for assistance with food, housing and health care from January 1st to May 10th, 2020.

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