A recent report from a North Carolina-based advocacy group found that the Latinx immigrants surveyed from across the state are struggling to access COVID-19 government aid.
Conducted by Siembra NC, an organization that helps support and defend Latinx immigrants “with and without papers," the survey, which was sent via text message, reported responses of 309 Latinx immigrants across 11 North Carolina counties, including Orange County.
Andrew Willis Garcés, director at Siembra, said the main goals for the survey were to figure out how to better help the immigrants whom the organization serves, and to inform policymakers about what coronavirus-related needs are not being met in Latinx communities.
“We have been hearing a lot of what are really startling and surprising stories from people who did not know how to get food access, and we saw a lot of gaps and wanted to better understand who was losing their jobs and who wasn’t,” Garcés said.
Of the participants in the survey, 69 percent reported living in a household where one or more people have lost their job since the start of the pandemic, but only 13 percent said members of their household are receiving unemployment benefits or stimulus checks.
Kattia Blanco Acuna, health & well-being department manager of El Centro Hispano, a Latinx nonprofit organization in the Triangle, said that many people the organization works with do not currently have adequate funding to cover all of their expenses.
“One of the most visible gaps is that many of our community members are ineligible for government benefits such as unemployment,” Blanco said. “This creates an additional obstacle in terms of securing funds to cover basic living expenses."
A lack of ability to pay rent was one of the main concerns of participants of the survey, with 70 percent of the participants reporting this as their number one concern, and 45 percent of participants reporting that they have not been able to pay their May rent in full.
The full report of the survey included written suggestions that participants had made for elected officials, with an "overwhelming majority" of respondents requesting officials provide financial help for bills and rent payments.