BATON ROUGE; Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, thousands of Louisianans have experienced job loss, higher food prices, housing instability, food insecurity and the devastating impacts of Hurricane Laura. An estimated 15 percent of all households and 20 percent of households with children in Louisiana are experiencing severe food insecurity, meaning they actively do not have enough food to eat.
A new survey of more than 400 SNAP recipients in Louisiana, conducted by the SouthStrong campaign from August 28th to September 7th, 2020, documented the needs of households throughout the pandemic and the shortfalls of existing federal assistance programs. The survey found that more than half of the Louisianans surveyed have had trouble buying enough food since the pandemic began while nearly half also have had trouble applying for at least one type of available assistance including SNAP, unemployment benefits, or stimulus checks. Perhaps most startling, 56% of participants report feeling worried that they will not have stable housing within the next two months. Overall, participants report that food insecurity and job loss have been the top challenges faced due to the pandemic, the initial government aid made a huge difference but has since largely worn off, and additional help with housing, food, and utilities are needed immediately.
The study highlights just how many households are barely making ends meet and serves as a clear call to action for legislators to prioritize additional COVID-19 relief. When asked “what would you like policymakers to know?” one participant said, “We simply can't find work, and we can't supplement income ourselves. It's a pandemic."
Across Louisiana, thousands of households are struggling to keep food on the table every day and the need for assistance is at an unprecedented level. We cannot do this work alone. Without action from our local, state, and federal legislators to provide additional COVID-19 relief this crisis will only continue to grow.
Read the full report here: https://www.feedinglouisiana.org/southern-voices-report
Feeding Louisiana provides a unified voice for Louisiana's hungry by providing short-term food relief while seeking long-term solutions to hunger through advocacy, education, and leadership. Feeding Louisiana is made up of the five Feeding America member food banks in Louisiana, serving all 64 parishes through a network of more than 900 community and faith-based organizations.
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