After 4 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, what changes can we see in Americans’ need for assistance with food, rent and other social needs? Data from 2-1-1 helplines indicate that it varies a lot by state. Requests for food assistance are still dramatically higher than normal in all states, but starting to gradually decline in many states. North Carolina, Washington and Massachusetts are exceptions, with food requests remaining very high or increasing slightly. In a few states like Maryland, New Jersey and Connecticut, requests for rent assistance have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, although most remain higher than usual and in some states (MA, NC, WA) rent requests are still rising. Data are also reported for requests to 2-1-1 for assistance with unemployment benefits, utility payment assistance and diapers and toilet paper. The charts below show daily requests for January 1 – April 7, 2020. The red bar in each chart is March 11th, the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Mouse over each bar to see the number of requests received that day. Change the request type by clicking in the legend.
Contributors: Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter