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 (July – August, 2020), and up 50% from pre-COVID-19 weekly averages (January – February, 2020). The top chart below shows this late-2020 rise in requests. Examining the types of requests received by TN 2-1-1 in 2020 (bottom chart), it’s clear that end-of-year increase is fueled mostly by a rise in rent assistance requests (orange line). By early December, 2-1-1s in TN were receiving almost 50 rent assistance requests every day, roughly twice the number of such requests received during August and September, and four times the number received before the pandemic began. By comparison, requests for food pantries (blue line) and COVID-19 information (green line) rose only modestly in the fourth quarter of 2020. In the top chart, mouse over each bar to see the number of total requests to 2-1-1 for each day of 2020. In the bottom chart, mouse over each line to see a 7-day moving average of the number of requests per day in that category. Analyses included 47,609 requests received by 2-1-1s in TN from Jan. 1st to December 7th, 2020. Data are from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs in Tennessee and 36 other states. In TN, 211 Counts includes request data from 65 of 95 counties. These analyses were limited to 57 counties with data available from January 1, 2020.

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