5 months of COVID-19: What needs are trending?
August 17, 2020
Americans’ needs for utility payment and rent assistance, low-cost housing and legal assistance all increased in Month 5 of the COVID-19 pandemic. New analyses of requests for assistance to 2-1-1 helplines in 33 states show a major jump in all utility needs – electric, gas, water and heating fuel – as disconnection bans begin to expire in some communities. Rent assistance needs rose after declining for three consecutive months, again coinciding with the end of some eviction protections. Requests for low-cost housing grew for the fourth month in a row. Many Americans also sought legal help to address these needs: requests for both landlord/tenant issues and legal assistance continued their steady increase throughout the pandemic. Requests related to COVID-19 were higher in Month 5 than any prior month. Each chart below shows the average number of requests received per day by 2-1-1s across six time periods: pre-COVID (Jan. 1 – March 11, 2020), and each of the five months thereafter. Mouse over each line marker to see the value. We divided requests into six periods: Pre-COVID (January 1 – March 11), Month 1 (March 12 – April 11), Month 2 (April 12 – May 11), Month 3 (May 12 – June 11), Month 4 (June 12 – July 11), and Month 5 (July 12 – August 11), and plotted the average daily requests for each period for 12 different social needs. States include: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WA, WI and WY.
Contributors: Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Matthew Kreuter