Women share life experiences during COVID

In the Life During COVID study, sixty mothers with school age children shared what life was like for them and their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants completed mobile phone surveys every three days between February 2021 and September 2022. Surveys assessed participants’ daily needs, health, employment, children and schooling, and concerns about COVID-19. Thousands […]

Utah rent needs rise with COVID, expiring protections

Rent assistance requests rose 202% from 2019 to 2020 along Utah’s Wasatch Front. Rent needs spiked four times in 2020, all associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and relief efforts.

Year 1 of COVID-19: Needs rise 59%

Over a full year of COVID-19, requests to 211 jumped 59%, led by needs for food and housing assistance. Requests for food assistance such as food pantries and home-delivered meals were up 97% and housing requests such as rent assistance rose 42%.

Preventing eviction? The St. Louis case for starting with 211

Communities trying to prevent eviction during COVID-19 might be wise to work with 211. New analyses show a near perfect correlation between the number of calls to a 211 helpline for rent assistance in a given ZIP code, and the number of eviction filings in that ZIP code.

Year in Review: Rent requests up 43% in St. Louis

St. Louis ended 2020 with its busiest month of the year for rent assistance requests. 211 of Greater St. Louis received nearly 2,500 requests for rent assistance in December from across the St. Louis metropolitan area, a whopping 92% increase over the same month in 2019. For the year, rent assistant requests were 43% higher […]

Year in Review: landlord-tenant requests up most in the Carolinas

In the south, requests to 211 helplines for assistance with landlord-tenant issues were 18 times higher in South Carolina in 2020 (orange line in chart) compared to 2019 (blue line). Large gains were also seen in North Carolina (+818%) and Florida (+93%).

Tennessee: Rent assistance drives end-of-year rise in needs

Requests to 2-1-1 in Tennessee increased steadily in the final quarter of 2020, driven by growing demand for rent assistance. Since early October, 2-1-1s in TN have received 1,191 total requests per week, up 41% from weekly averages in the 3rd quarter, and up 50% from pre-COVID-19 weekly averages).

Rent and mortgage requests hit record levels in MA

Two powerful forces are driving requests for rent and mortgage assistance to all-time highs in Massachusetts. The peak in mid-October was over 200 requests per day, more than ten times the pre-COVID rate.

In Ohio, resources reveal need

Among the many lessons learned about 2-1-1 requests during COVID-19, here’s one of the most important: availability of resources helps reveal community needs.

Needs top 100,000 in STL

Calls for help in St. Louis just topped 100,000 for the year. The largest pre- to post-COVID-19 increases have been in requests for assistance with getting personal hygiene products such as diapers and toilet paper (+96%), electric bill payment (+77%), gas bill payment (+56%), water bill payment (+51%), food pantries (+43%) and rent assistance (+37%). The chart shows these and other needs that have grown during the pandemic.

PART 1: After the initial shock

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 sent requests to 2-1-1 skyrocketing for a wide range of needs. We identified four distinct patterns that followed the initial burst of requests to 2-1-1, and they vary by type of need.

Rent past due: landlord-tenant issues rise

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its eighth month, no need has increased as steadily and consistently as landlord-tenant issues. At 2-1-1 helplines across the U.S., requests for help with landlord-tenant issues have nearly tripled since the pandemic began. These requests capture property owners and renters seeking assistance with legal issues, as well as – during […]

CARES = calls at 2-1-1 in Ohio

When Summit County, Ohio turned to 2-1-1 to help deliver COVID-19 relief, the demand was clear instantly. Summit County CARES, a program to help families affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic pay their rent and utility bills, launched on July 6th.

California fires drive 2-1-1 to near-record usage

California wildfires pushed 2-1-1 call volume back near peak levels set in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic. A closer look at 2-1-1 requests during the CZU fire showed a dramatic increase in disaster-related calls seeking assistance with housing and shelter.

PA: COVID requests drop, housing needs surge

Calls about COVID-19 may be dropping, but its economic impact keeps the phones ringing off the hook at Pennsylvania 2-1-1. In contrast to COVID-19 requests, calls to 2-1-1 for rent assistance, shelters, low-cost housing and help dealing with landlord/tenant issues have all steadily increased since the pandemic began.

A summer of mortgage payment shortfalls

Requests for mortgage payment assistance rose throughout the summer of 2020. We compared requests received by 2-1-1s during the first eight months of 2020 (orange line on the chart) with the same dates in 2019 (blue line). In 2020, requests spiked as the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. At its peak, 2020 rates were over four-fold higher than the same date in 2019.

5 months of COVID-19: What needs are trending?

Americans’ needs for utility payment and rent assistance, low-cost housing and legal assistance all increased in Month 5 of the COVID-19 pandemic.

4-month trends: 2-1-1 requests during COVID-19

Going up: needs for low-cost housing, child care, health services, and COVID-19 requests. Coming down: food and unemployment requests. We examined requests for assistance in 12 need categories reported by 2-1-1s in 32 states since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

June summary: rent assistance and COVID-19 lead all 2-1-1 requests

Requests to 2-1-1 for rent assistance and COVID-19 information topped all categories in June, while requests for low-cost housing and help buying food increased the most over May. Average daily requests to 2-1-1 for all needs increased slightly (+3%) from May to June, and requests in June remain well-above pre-COVID-19 levels (+28%).

2-1-1 rent requests rise with Milwaukee eviction filings

Eviction filings fell to near zero in Milwaukee during its temporary eviction ban in the early months of COVID-19. However, as the ban grew closer to expiring, rent assistance requests to 2-1-1 more than tripled.

Housing needs rise as Wisconsin eviction ban lifted

Housing requests to 211 Wisconsin for rent assistance and help finding shelters are rising after a temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures ended. We analyzed 23,802 requests for rent assistance and shelters made to 211 Wisconsin before, during and after the temporary ban.

12 trends from the first 3 months of COVID-19

Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, requests to 2-1-1s in the U.S. are trending up for child care, low-cost housing, landlord-tenant issues, legal assistance, health services and mental health services.

Big differences in COVID needs for high and low poverty neighborhoods

Since COVID-19, people in high-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to call 2-1-1 seeking help with food and housing while those from low-poverty neighborhoods are more likely to call about healthcare, which includes information about COVID risks, protections, symptoms and testing.

Phone vs. web requests to 2-1-1 during COVID

Requests to 2-1-1 can come by phone or through web searches, and new analyses suggest needs differ by modality. During COVID-19, a much larger proportion of web searches are seeking help with food, while phone requests are more likely to focus on housing, healthcare and mental health needs.

COVID trends for top 3 housing needs

When Americans call 2-1-1 with housing-related needs, 80-90% of all requests are for rent assistance, shelters, or low-cost housing. However, the trends for each in 2-1-1 requests since COVID-19 differ, and only low-income housing requests are still rising 12 weeks after the pandemic began.

Tourist towns hurt by COVID

COVID-19 has been economically devastating to the leisure and hospitality industries and many people who work in them. Popular tourist destinations such as Las Vegas, NV, Atlantic City, NJ and Myrtle Beach, SC have seen dramatic increases in 2-1-1 calls since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Rent needs higher since COVID in cities with more service workers

Rent assistance requests to 2-1-1 helplines since COVID are higher in cities with a larger proportion of workers in personal care and service occupations. As the percent of the workforce in personal care and service jobs increases, so too does the rate of requests for help paying rent.

A roller coaster of social needs in Nebraska

Up, then down, then up again. Requests to 2-1-1 started rising again in a second wave of calls. This may be due to the large number of coronavirus outbreaks in the state related to meat packing plants.

Meat packing update: Iowa needs surge again

In Black Hawk County, Iowa, calls to 2-1-1 for housing, food and health care needs tripled as the pandemic began. Then a COVID-19 outbreak closed the county’s Tyson Foods’ pork packing plant. The resulting second surge was even bigger than the first.

Milestone: 250,000 housing requests

A quarter million calls for help. With more Americans missing rent and mortgage payments due to the economic fallout from COVID-19, 2-1-1s passed another milestone. On May 5th, 2-1-1s passed 250,000 requests for housing assistance.

Milestone: 200,000 housing requests since COVID

2-1-1s don’t shut down on weekends, especially not in a pandemic. Last weekend, the 24/7/365 helplines passed 200,000 requests for housing assistance since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and that only counts requests from 2-1-1s participating in a daily tracking system.

Do men and women call 2-1-1 for different reasons?

Americans calling 2-1-1 since COVID-19 are disproportionately women, but it varies a lot based on the caller’s needs. Nearly all requests (80-90%) for diapers and toilet paper, child care, and clothing and household items come from women.

Housing requests growing faster in low-poverty ZIP codes

The differences are small, but clear. Five weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion of housing assistance requests to 2-1-1 helplines is increasing faster in low-poverty ZIP codes than high-poverty ZIP codes. This trend is worth watching, as it may indicate that more Americans living in wealthier neighborhoods are feeling the economic fallout of the […]

One month ago: Biggest day in 2-1-1 history?

February 11th (i.e., 2-11) is recognized each year as National 2-1-1 Day. But if you’re looking for the most significant date in 2-1-1 history, it’s probably March 18th, 2020. One month ago today, 2-1-1s recorded the greatest number of requests in single day, 46,399, and that counts only the requests received by 2-1-1s in 24 […]

UPDATE: High-poverty ZIP codes and COVID social needs in 31 states

Last Sunday’s report, “High-poverty ZIP codes hurting most for food, rent during COVID-19,” was so popular that we recreated it including all 31 states for which 2-1-1 data are available. This is up from the original seven states, and we’ve also added four more days of data, through yesterday. In all, we analyzed over 150,000 […]

High-poverty ZIP codes hurting most for food, rent during COVID-19

People living in high poverty ZIP codes make up 10% of the population but account for 39% of all requests for food assistance during COVID-19. They also account for a disproportionate share of requests for help with rent or mortgage payments. We examined over 50,000 requests for food, rent and mortgage assistance received by 2-1-1 […]

Where are food, rent and other needs rising and falling?

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 […]