Survey: Black Nashvillians Report Need for Rent, Food & Utility Assistance at Higher Rates

Nashville—Metro Nashville Government contracted with The Equity Alliance to conduct a Covid-19 community needs assessment to inform the Covid-19 Financial Oversight Committee’s funding recommendations. The Equity Alliance is a nonpartisan, Nashville-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for African Americans and other communities of color to have a fair and just opportunity at realizing the American dream.

The Equity Alliance’s survey of 1,028 adults in Davidson County revealed the challenges the pandemic presents for all Nashvillians, and particularly for communities of color. Across the city, for example, more than one in five adults who were employed full-time in February have since had to work reduced hours or lost their jobs entirely.

Black and Latino residents report the most acute negative impacts. While 43 percent of all respondents say they need either financial assistance, rent assistance or food assistance to quarantine safely, Black respondents (51%) and Latino respondents (49%) in particular, report a need for such assistance.

These communities are also being directly hit the hardest by the virus: 14% of Black respondents and 27% of Latino respondents say they have struggled with someone in their household getting sick from Covid-19, compared to 9% of white respondents.

Nearly five months into the pandemic, health and safety remain Nashvillians’ primary concerns, and their worries are only growing.

According to the Survey:

  • Residents of color are more likely than white respondents to say they and their families have faced serious challenges, from lacking critical supplies like hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes (45% v. 32%) to paying bills (26% v. 18%) to contracting Covid-19 (17% v. 9%) and caring for at-risk family and household members (16% v. 8%).
  • Residents of color report needing assistance at higher rates than their white neighbors, including financial assistance (39% v. 32%), rent assistance (29% v. 17%), access to the internet (27% v. 26%), food assistance (26% v. 16%), energy/utilities assistance (24% v. 14%) and virtual learning assistance (12% v. 3%).
  • Residents of the hardest-hit ZIP codes report more need for assistance than Nashvillians as a whole. Needs include financial assistance (38% v. 28%), rent assistance (24% v. 17%), food assistance (23% v. 15%) and energy/utilities assistance (21% v. 16%).
  • Roughly one third (30%) of Nashvillians say health and safety are currently their greatest concern, including 38% of Black respondents, 25% of Latino respondents and 29% of white respondents. Next was employment, at 20% among all respondents, and mental health, at 14%.
  • While just 13% of Nashvillians report a personal or familial Covid-19 infection as the largest challenge so far, 42% see it as the biggest challenge going forward. 44% of respondents from the hardest-hit ZIP codes are concerned about getting sick in the future, compared to 36% of Nashvillians in other ZIP codes.

 

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