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Journal of Family and Economic Issues

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COVID 19 (Disease) -- United States -- Health Care


Housing, the single largest expense for low-income individuals, is inherently tied to economic security. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanic/Latinx and Black communities experienced the highest rates of income loss, basic needs insecurity, and COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality. As part of an ethnographic case study, I conducted serial interviews over two years with 35 predominantly low-income Hispanic/Latinx immigrant families in one Denver, Colorado neighborhood during the COVID-19 pandemic. These interviews revealed that very few of these individuals were able to access governmental financial support as a result of limited dissemination despite facing unemployment, underemployment and rising rents. Although governmental financial support forestalled poor outcomes for many US families, these financial interventions were inaccessible for low-income Hispanic/Latinx immigrant families because of their documentation status and/or language barriers. Given no other options, families coped with their increasing economic insecurity by cutting back on non-essential items, doubling-up housing with other families, and relying on nonprofit emergency food assistance in order to maintain stable housing. These experiences highlight the need for further dissemination of information about supportive interventions, which can increase economic security among low-income immigrant families and non-English speaking communities. In tandem, policy efforts related to economic security are needed to mitigate the burden of wealth inequities through poverty-reduction programs, pathways to citizenship, and access to basic needs security – including safe and affordable housing, food security, health-promoting resources, and living wage work.


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