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Low Income Families Fear Not Having Enough Cash and Food Within a Month: Survey

NYC Food Pantry (Image: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

May 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A new survey has revealed that low-income families in Queens are facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Public Health Solutions, a nonprofit that conducted the survey between April 17 and April 29, found that the majority of low-income households in Queens are worried about running out of food and not having enough money to pay for essential items within a month.

The survey, based on the results of 1,000 New York City residents, defines low-income households as those that make less than $50,000 per year.

The bleak outlook comes as many businesses remain closed and thousands of people are out of work.

A large portion of respondents from Queens, 43 percent, reported that a household member in the borough had either lost their job or had seen a significant reduction in pay since March 1.

The knock-on effect of lost wages revealed that 67 percent of low-income earners in the World’s Borough are worried about running out of cash within a month.

Similarly, 63 percent of low-income respondents in Queens said that they are concerned about having enough food for themselves and their families within the same time period.

While more than half of Queens low-income respondents are worried about food security, only a small percentage – 15 percent – of Queens residents were familiar with how the government’s food assistance program SNAP works, compared to 28 percent of respondents from the Bronx.

The education gap regarding food stamps suggests that more residents would likely access the program if they were made aware of it.

For example, only 8 percent of respondents in Queens had applied for or utilized SNAP in the last month, compared with 21 percent of people in the Bronx, 18 percent in Brooklyn and 20 percent in Manhattan.

Citywide, the data showed that the vast majority of low-income families of color – 82 percent of blacks and 92 percent of Hispanics – were worried about running out of cash in the next month.

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