Food requests in Missouri are more than twice as high as usual, but gradually declining from a COVID-19 peak on March 23rd. In contrast, there is no indication that the COVID-19 increase in requests for rent assistance is declining. We examined daily requests for food, rent and utility payment assistance received by the United Way 2-1-1 helpline in Missouri from January 1 through April 7, 2020 (top chart) and compared it to requests during the same dates in 2019 (bottom chart). Research shows that when faced with multiple competing needs, families will often secure food before addressing other needs. The 2-1-1 data are consistent with that explanation. The state map shows the percentage change in requests for food, rent and utility payment assistance by county in Missouri. Darker purple shading indicates larger increases in requests from March 12 – April 7, 2020 compared to the same dates in 2019. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11. Increases were generally larger in the Bootheel region and in larger urban centers. Mouse over the bars or counties to see the number of requests and click on food, rent or utilities to see data for different need types.
Contributors: Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter