A statewide survey, conducted by United Ways of Texas in cooperation with United Way of Tarrant County, found that Texans are facing many challenges due to the pandemic, including meeting basic needs. The survey also found some Texas communities and populations are being hit disproportionately hard, and a majority of Texans are very worried about the health and economic well-being of their communities.
In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, key findings include:
The top concern among individuals is contracting COVID-19 (67%), followed by the economic health of the community (59%), mental health issues (40%), remote learning during the upcoming school year (38%) and attending church or other social gatherings (37%).
When asked about resources needed for their households, the most common answer was “help with bills” (22%) followed by new job opportunities (20%), assistance with paying rent/mortgage (18%), technology to assist with remote working and learning (15%), and health insurance coverage (13%).
To make ends meet during the pandemic, 22% said they increased the balance on credit cards, 21% said they applied for unemployment, 17% used a food pantry or food bank, 15% borrowed from family or friends and 12% applied for food stamps or the SNAP program.
Seventy-five percent of Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex households received a stimulus check. Among those, 34% said the check would cover family/household expenses for two weeks or less and the majority used the checks for rent or mortgage (37%), utilities (35%) and food (32%).
Among seniors, the top concern was contracting COVID-19 (74%), the economic health of the community (71%), attending church or other social gatherings (44%), mental health issues (34%) and medical issues other than COVID-19 (26%).
“The survey reinforces what we have seen first-hand in Tarrant County,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “COVID-19 has greatly affected our community with many families struggling to make ends meet. And it has been even harder for vulnerable populations, including low-income families, senior citizens and children. Basic needs such as food, mortgage and rent, utilities, and medications continue to be the most needed.”
Since mid-March, the United Way of Tarrant County has invested $1.4 million from the Emergency Relief Fund, assisting more than 550,000 people impacted by COVID-19. In addition, through federal and state grants administered by the Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County, more than 203,268 meals have been delivered to 2,480 senior citizens. Total for this effort is $1,113,636.
United Way also established the Rebuild Tarrant County Fund to provide long-term assistance to the community as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.