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. We examined 6.8 million phone requests received by 211s in 29 states from March 12, 2020 to March 11, 2021 – the first full year of the COVID-19 global pandemic – and compared them to phone requests received during the same dates the prior 12 months. Requests for food assistance such as food pantries and home-delivered meals were up 97% and housing requests such as rent assistance rose 42%. Utility assistance requests (+31%) and employment-related requests (+24) also increased substantially. Some requests declined during COVID, including child care (-28%) and transportation (-12%). The chart on the left shows month-by-month request totals before COVID (blue line) and during COVID (green line); the chart on the right shows the percentage change from before to during COVID for selected need categories. Mouse over any line or bar to see detailed information about the number of requests received. All data came from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used in 38 states. Web requests were excluded from analyses. Analyses included 211s from 29 states that had data available for the full 24-month period: AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO, NC, ME, NJ, NV, NY, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, WI and WY.

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