United Way’s COVID-19 Survey results shed light on impact of virus on Texas communities

A statewide survey on the effects of COVID-19 reveals that Texans are facing many challenges due to the pandemic, some Texas communities and populations are being hit disproportionately hard, and most Texans are very worried about the health and economic wellbeing of their communities.

“Our United Way aligns its work with the needs of the community and these results, which highlight the gaps in services and support, will guide our work moving forward,” Deborah A. Zuloaga, United Way of El Paso County shared.

“More than ever, and especially in our community, we recognize that the recovery process that we’ll endure will be determined by community support and will require collaboration between individuals, companies, nonprofits, and local governments.”

In El Paso, 65 percent of households claimed to have been highly or moderately affected by the pandemic.

Of note, 89% of single mothers reported a moderate to high effect of the virus.  Also, reported the greatest impact of COVID-19. The highest impact of COVID-19 was found in the El Paso metropolitan area.

United Ways of Texas – in partnership with local United Ways across the state – released the statewide survey to help shed light on the impact COVID-19 on Texas communities, and to better understand the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on diverse Texas communities.

In addition, the survey aims to guide and inform United Ways across the state on how to best support Texas families through long-term recovery and beyond.

Key survey findings include:

  • Most people expressed an overwhelming fear of catching COVID-19 (65%), followed by a concern for their communities (61%).
  • Households earning below the Federal Poverty Level were nearly three times as likely to experience a high effect of COVID-19, and the Hispanic households were twice as likely as white households.
  • Households are using federal relief to make ends meet.  Cares Act stimulus checks were most often used for utilities (38%), food (38%), or housing (36%).
  • People in hospitality, arts/entertainment/food, construction, and Sales report the greatest impact of COVID-19.  While utilities and those outside the labor force report the least effect.
  • Job loss affected low-income households the most with job loss at 60% for those in poverty.

The results make it clear that some Texas populations and communities, such as women, low income households, families of color, and individuals working in hospitality, arts/entertainment/food, construction, and trade/retail sales are bearing the brunt of the impact.

“Understanding our communities is what United Way does best, however we always want to be sure we are listening, turning outward and capturing the voice of the community,” Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, United Ways of Texas.

“This survey allowed for us to hear from people around the state to let us know how they’ve been affected, where they need the most assistance, what their biggest concerns are, and to tell us more about what communities in the state may be struggling more than others.”

The COVID-19 survey has provided a snapshot of critical needs in the state of Texas due to the coronavirus and United Way of El Paso hopes that the results will help guide conversations, community action, advocacy and policy ensuring resources are allocated to support those in need.

In response to the impact of COVID-19 in our community, our United Way has been on the ground working with companies and agencies to offer programs and services to our most vulnerable.

“We’ve partnered with the Paso Del Norte Community Foundation to launch the El Paso COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofit organizations serving the most vulnerable in our community – including the homeless, elderly and food insecure,” United Way officials share.

“Through this partnership, United Way has been able to deliver countless of cleaning and paper products to emergency/transitional shelters, homeless outreach teams and senior service providers, including more than 50,000 bottles of sanitizer, about 11,000 toilet paper rolls, nearly 700 bottle of counter disinfectant, and so much more.”

Officials point out that among their efforts is the assembling and distribution of more than 1,500 senior care kits with paper and hygiene products, through the Senior Fund, a partnership between United Way, The El Paso Times and the Area Agency on Aging. In addition to this, we’ve supported Fab Lab’s response to the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment including N95 mask and respirators with a grant.

“We also contributed to the launch of Get Shift Done El Paso, an initiative that pays adversely affected hourly workers in the hospitality industry to work shifts at the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank on top of volunteer recruitment management,” officials added.

The survey was administered from June 1st-28th and made available in both English and Spanish.

For more information on the United Way of El Paso, visit their website or Facebook page.