Faced With Unparalleled Economic Hardship, Some Americans Turn To Safety Net For First Time In Their Lives
“I’ve never had to actually do this,” said Dalen Lacy said, a warehouse worker. “But I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do for my kids.” Lacy is among a wave of Americans who are seeking unemployment aid for the first time as the pandemic upends the economy. Meanwhile, what happens to those who can't pay rent today? And consumer confidence plunges to its lowest level in nearly three years.
The New York Times:
‘Never Thought I Would Need It’: Americans Put Pride Aside To Seek Aid
The cars arrived at the food bank in southern Dallas in a stream — a minivan, a Chevrolet Tahoe, a sedan with a busted window, a Jaguar of unclear vintage. Inside the vehicles sat people who scarcely could believe they needed to be there. There was a landscaper, a high school administrator, a college student, and Dalen Lacy, a warehouse worker and 7-Eleven clerk. Like 70 percent of the people who showed up at Crossroads Community Services one day last week, Mr. Lacy had never been there before. (Buckley, 3/31)
The New York Times:
The Safety Net Got A Quick Patch. What Happens After The Coronavirus?
President Trump and congressional Republicans spent the last three years fighting to cut anti-poverty programs and expand work rules, so their support for emergency relief — especially in the form of directly sending people checks, usually a nonstarter in American politics — is a significant reversal of their effort to shrink the safety net. It has also intensified a long-running debate about whether that safety net adequately protects the needy in ordinary times as well. (DeParle, 3/31)
Los Angeles Times:
Amid Coronavirus, California Demand For Food Stamps Rises
With many Californians losing income and jobs, the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a record surge in the number of applications for CalFresh, the state’s food stamp program, forcing operational changes to expedite help for those unable to put meals on the table. The number of people applying for food assistance jumped to 55,624 in the third week of March, up from 34,882 during the same period last year, said Jason Montiel, a spokesman for the state Department of Social Services. (McGreevy, 3/31)
From Bartering To Begging For Relief, Struggling Americans Confront April Rent
New York hair stylist Vanessa Karim has not worked since March 21, when the state closed all salons to slow the spread of the coronavirus. She only has enough cash on hand to cover half of her $1,400 April rent. “It all feels like a bad dream,” said Karim, 36, who planned to ask her landlord if he would be willing to accept a partial payment. “Every day I’m like, ‘Is this really happening?’ I’m trying not to stress out.” (Ax and Trotta, 3/31)
Rent's Due. Now What? Experts Warn A Housing Crisis Shadows The Health Crisis.
Wednesday marks the first of a new month, a day when rent comes due for millions of Americans for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak shuttered much of the country and caused widespread job losses. Federal, state and local governments have scrambled to enact policies to keep renters whose sources of income have disappeared from getting evicted in the immediate future while treading carefully around measures that could adversely affect landlords and the real estate market at large. But experts say the initial steps are nowhere near enough to protect low- and middle-income renters and handle what they say is the next biggest issue on legislators' plates after ensuring the stability of the health care system. (Smith, 3/31)
The New York Times:
40% Of N.Y. Tenants May Not Pay Rent This Month. What Happens Then?
The true economic toll of all but shutting down New York City to stem the spread of the coronavirus is likely to become clearer on Wednesday when April rent is due. In just a month’s time, the lives of millions of New Yorkers have been turned upside down, many of them losing their jobs and now worrying about paying their bills. (Haag, 3/31)
Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Legal ‘Toolkit’ Offered For Those Affected By Coronavirus
A legal aid nonprofit has created a new “toolkit” for those affected by COVID-19 after seeing a significant increase in demand for such services in the Las Vegas Valley. The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has received a high volume of calls from area residents seeking help on evictions, family law issues, health care, unemployment and debt collection. The agency said calls to the Legal Aid Center have nearly doubled in a week. (Puit, 3/31)
The Associated Press:
U.S. Consumer Confidence Sinks As Virus Begins Having Impact
U.S. consumer confidence tumbled this month to its lowest level in nearly three years as the impact of the coronavirus on the economy began to be felt. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its confidence index dropped to a reading of 120 in March from February’s 132.6. It was the lowest reading since the index was at 117.3 in June 2017. (3/31)
Coronavirus Hits The Economy Where It Hurts: Consumer Confidence
A closely watched survey of consumer sentiment published monthly showed Tuesday that Americans across the board are getting more worried about the state of the economy and how their own personal finances will fare. The index published by The Conference Board dropped to 120 in March from 132.6 in February — its lowest level since June 2017. (The index is compared to a 1985 benchmark, set at 100). Steep dents in consumer optimism are to be expected with such severe and widespread economic pain, but it’s a hugely important measure to keep track of because consumers’ short-term outlook is a telling indicator of what will happen in the economy. (Guida, 3/31)
The New York Times:
Why The Global Recession Could Last A Long Time
The world is almost certainly ensnared in a devastating recession delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, fears are growing that the downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared — potentially enduring into next year, and even beyond — as governments intensify restrictions on business to halt the spread of the pandemic, and as fear of the virus reconfigures the very concept of public space, impeding consumer-led economic growth. (Goodman, 4/1)