Propel: Five Impacts COVID-19 is Having on Low-Income Americans

October 23, 2020

As another month of quarantine and social distancing passes, the financial toll on low-income households continues to build. Despite this harrowing reality, states, nonprofits, and other organizations have worked tirelessly to help struggling families through these unprecedented times. 

Since March, we have been in touch with SNAP households who have shared their experience navigating the pandemic. We present these findings in partnership with FRAC in a monthly webinar. Please join us next week:

Listening to SNAP Households to Inform Policy
October 28th at 3pm ET

Register here

COVID-19 continues to hammer low-income households

We’ve been in touch with Fresh EBT users every month who have shared the devastating financial impact COVID-19 continues to have on their lives. Unsurprisingly, the expiration of federal programs has been a significant strain. Here is a brief highlight of the findings:

  • There is no financial slack to continue to weather this ongoing crisis
    • 56% of respondents had less than $25 at time of taking the survey. 76% had less than $99.
  • If Fresh EBT customers could get help with one thing, they need cash to cover everyday expenses (e.g., rent)
    • 75.8% report that the pandemic has caused them to fall behind on rent, mortgage or utilities.
  • Federal interventions made a difference, but are running out
    • 20.4% of households who got extra SNAP report relying on others for meals compared to 34.1% of families who did not get extra SNAP benefits.

Learn more about the 5 impacts COVID-19 is having on low-income Americans here.

In addition to these monthly pulse surveys, we have partnered with nonprofit organizations to survey SNAP households across multiple states. We recently worked with the Southern Economic Advancement Project to administer surveys to SNAP households using Fresh EBT in 12 Southern States. Read the report here.

Project 100 continues to deliver direct cash transfers

In April, Propel partnered with GiveDirectly and Stand for Children to create Project 100: the most ambitious COVID-19 private direct payments initiative to date in the United States. So far, Project 100 has administered $1000 cash grants to over 115,000 families. 

Our survey research continues to find that families who lost wages due to the pandemic remain in dire need of cash to help with rent, food, and other basic necessities. That’s why Project 100 is expanding its effort to get cash to families fast. Learn more about the impact of direct cash grants here.

Questions about Project 100? Learn more here.