Low income families, BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color), women, and youth have been hit the hardest from the economic recession in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The negative impact includes higher rates of poverty among these groups due to job loss. Also impacted for these groups are the areas of food insecurity, housing burdens, reduced access to both healthcare and child care, and increases in the risk of violence and abuse at home due to COVID-19 related stress and social isolation. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession have disproportionately harmed BICOP, low income families, women, and youth in comparison to Whites and people in higher income earning brackets (ASPE, September 2021).

COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused social and economic hardship across all American communities, with effects sharpest in low-income communities and among Black and Hispanic people. Over 22 million jobs were lost during the first three months of the pandemic in 2020. Poverty rates were 3.1 percent higher at the end of 2020 as compared to 2019 with poverty rates estimated to be more than double as high for Black and Hispanic Americans as for Whites (ASPE, April 2021).

Below are some comparisons of how the COVID-19 related economic recession has impacted BIPOC, low income communities, and Whites:

  • Job loss:
    low-wage workers (less than $27,000/year) lost jobs at 5 times the rate of middle-wage workers ($27,000 - $60,000/year) (ASPE, September 2021).
  • Food insecurity:
    19 percent of Black households reported struggling to have enough food for the week. 21 percent of Hispanic households reported struggling to have enough food for the week, compared to 8 percent of White households. 42 percent of low income households, 36 percent youth, and 31 percent of households with children were food insufficient.
  • Housing burdens:
    22 percent of Black and 20 percent of Hispanic renters struggled with affording rent, compared to 9 percent of White renters.
  • Child care:
    child care centers have closed or reduced enrollment, putting pressure on low-income families, as well as on the child care workforce.
  • Financial support:
    BIPOC were less likely to receive unemployment insurance than Whites. Some received Economic Impact Payments from the CARES Act more slowly or not at all. (ASPE, April 2021)

We are stepping up our game now and in 2022 at AACF. Thanks to a $3000 donation from the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation we will be providing up to $100 worth of food and toiletries to 10 low income elderly and people with disabilities as well as a financial donation to a local food pantry during the month of December. Our Strategic Plan for 2022 includes increasing our low income youth program participation by and additional 20%, providing an additional 216 supportive services (increased from this year’s 1082 total) to our low income clients, placing an additional 48 youth in jobs (increased from this year’s 240), and providing supportive services to an additional 11 working single mothers (increased from 56 this year).

We serve low income community members from Chicago West Side, Chicago South Side, and Suburban Cook County. During 2021 89% of our clients have been Black, 10% Hispanic, and 56% are women. We are increasing our impact now and through 2022 to combat the damaging effects of the COVID-19 economic recession on our low income community members, BIPOC, women, and youth. Be a part of our mission: to train and assist low income residents of Cook County, enable them to acquire skills, while actively fostering economic opportunity and communal stability.

Consider joining our mission in the following ways!


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