Coronavirus crisis highlights weak points in the US economic system


“We went from 0 to 60 in five seconds,” said Kim Guadagno, Managing Director and President of Fulfill. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was devastating, she said, but it’s worse because “the need is widespread, with no end in sight.”

Last year, before the pandemic, Feeding America, the country’s largest network of food banks, fed 40 million people, many of them children, said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the executive director. “It highlights the fact that so many people in our country live on a precipice,” she said.

Housing is also less secure. A recent survey by SurveyMonkey and Apartment List, a San Francisco-based online rental marketplace, showed that a quarter of renters paid only part or none of their rent this month.

“These figures are extremely worrying,” said Igor Popov, chief economist of Apartment List. “In a typical economic downturn, when incomes decline, many families may downsize or move in together to minimize their rent payments. At a time when we shelter in place, even trips to downgrading housing are difficult. “

Those who have been in a hurry the most can expect to be in a hurry even more.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Destination: Home, a Silicon Valley nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness, was on track to provide $ 7 million in financial assistance to around 1,000 families. In March, the organization raised an additional $ 11 million for coronavirus relief, but was overwhelmed with demand – 4,500 applications in three days – and stopped accepting applications. The waiting list has nearly 10,000 people and is growing every day.

“I thought there was nothing I wasn’t involved in when it came to roaming,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, “but it’s incomprehensibly catastrophic.”

In a report on the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Federal Reserve in Richmond warns that the biggest burdens will fall on people who are already the most vulnerable – those in low-paying and precarious jobs.


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