The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in our community and all across the country. While everyone’s lifestyle is markedly affected as we band together to mitigate spreading the virus, low-income households will be left with devastating, long-term ramifications as preexisting inequities are deepened.
Already, APAH has heard stories of residents being laid off from their jobs, experiencing cut hours and lost wages. The impacts are immediate. One APAH resident, who works for a travel clinic, received little notice that she wouldn’t come in to work for the next six weeks. “I already stocked on toilet paper because I always buy in bulk,” she said. “But I’m not certain about anything else.” Another, a senior who makes his income driving – both taxis and for ride-share companies, has lost all his income. He found himself almost immediately with no money and no food.
Parents have also commented at how difficult it is trying to manage homeschooling and the transition of Arlington Public Schools to digital classrooms on top of their stress. One parent, who feels lucky to be technologically savvy and has not been laid off lamented, “if it’s this hard for me, I can’t imagine how other parents without computer skills or who have lost their jobs are managing”.
APAH has continued weekly grocery distributions in partnership with outstanding volunteers and the Arlington Food Assistance Center using recommended safety protocols and equipment. The distributions help residents budget for rising costs associated with COVID-19, including cleaning materials and extra stock of basic household supplies.
The outcomes have not fully materialized, yet residents face much uncertainty over the next months. While we wait to see what the ultimate effect of the coronavirus will be for our low-income neighbors, others have forecasted and highlighted some already-known national implications and disparity:
- As Coronavirus Deepens Inequality, Inequality Worsens Its Spread, from The New York Times
- When coronavirus hits, but the water is turned off, from The Washington Post
- Coronavirus has made the digital divide more dangerous than ever, from The Washington Post
- We Must Act Quickly to Protect Millions of Vulnerable Renters, from Urban Institute
- Who is most at risk in the coronavirus crisis: 24 million of the lowest-income workers, from Politico
- The Coronavirus Will Be a Catastrophe for the Poor, from The Atlantic
- What the coronavirus reveals about the digital divide between schools and communities, from Brookings Institute
We at APAH hope that our government leaders and neighbors will consider the challenges facing our lower wage households as we establish support and recovery plans. Thank you to APAH’s donors and funders for supporting our work and our residents.