By DocWire News Featured Reading
BACKGROUND: Public health pandemics, such as COVID-19, not only impact the physical health and wellbeing of communities but also often have far-reaching effects on their social, psychological, environmental, and economic welfare. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the significant inequities experienced among those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), especially in the areas of housing instability, unemployment, and debt accrual. This study investigates the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on residents of the Canal neighborhood (“The Canal”), a low-income Latinx community in Marin County, California. This study also uplifts mitigation strategies already underway to facilitate post-pandemic recovery efforts.
METHODS: This study utilized a mixed-methods, community participatory approach in which community leaders from a local nonprofit, Canal Alliance, administered a survey assessing the impact of COVID-19 on Canal residents. Additionally, community stakeholders including nonprofits, small businesses, and public officials were interviewed, and their field notes were analyzed through exploratory open coding.
RESULTS: On a macro level, the data showed that Canal residents were severely impacted by COVID-19 in the form of massive job loss (61.2% of respondents were unemployed or underemployed) as well as financial stress related to eviction, housing instability, and debt accrual (78.8% of respondents struggled to cover rent and often had to borrow money from friends and family).
CONCLUSIONS: In spite of the severe socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on The Canal, there is a significant opportunity for recovery and growth because of an overwhelming investment by residents, community-based organizations, and public officials to support those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Some key areas of policy focus include expansion of affordable housing, pandemic-resistant workforce development, and restructuring of social services to increase accessibility. This report will explore recommendations related to strategic funding of community-based programs as well as short-term and long-term solutions for economic recovery.
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