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One of these things is not like the others: COVID needs in St. Louis

COVID needs are drawing a more diverse set of callers to St. Louis’ top helpline. We mapped 94,661 requests to the 211 helpline for housing, food, utilities, and COVID-19 assistance from 63 ZIP codes in St. Louis City and County between March 12, 2020 and April 28, 2021. The patterns of community need were strikingly similar for housing, food and utilities, but quite different for COVID-19. The maps for housing (top left), food (top right), and utilities (bottom left) all showed that most requests to 211 were coming from north St. Louis City and County, and a few ZIP codes in south St. Louis City. In contrast, the map of COVID-19 requests, which includes calls about information, testing and vaccination, showed requests came from all parts St. Louis City and County. Why this difference? Prior reports suggest that low-poverty areas are more likely to call 211 about COVID-19 than other types of need, and that in high-poverty areas, social needs, such as feeding one’s family, may take priority over addressing health needs.  Data were accessed through 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used by 38 states. Mouse over each ZIP code in the maps below to see the number of requests in each category from that location. 

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