Giving Compass' Take:

• Mary Keck shares research that reveals that households of color are more likely to face evictions, utility shut-offs, and debt during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

• What role can you play in helping families survive the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

• Read about policy strategies to prevent evictions in the wake of COVID-19.

Disconnected utilities, evictions, and debt are disproportionately affecting households of color during the pandemic, researchers report.

Researchers from the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs surveyed more than 1,800 Americans at or below 200% of the federal poverty line.

The survey, which professors Sanya Carley and David Konisky conducted, is the second wave of the “Survey of Household Energy Insecurity in Time of COVID.” In June they released the first batch of data, which both highlighted and foreshadowed significant problems with vulnerable populations’ ability to pay utility bills, put food on their tables, and remain in their homes.

Carley and Konisky hypothesized that the energy demands of summer heat would only exacerbate the problem.

The newest data, covering August 4 to 20, confirm those suspicions.

“One in five Black households and nearly one-third of Hispanic households could not pay an energy bill during what was the second-hottest summer on record, yet only 12% of white households reported the same,” Carley says. “This is a life-and-death problem for many, and urgent and continued assistance is desperately needed to mitigate the effects of this nationwide issue.”

Read the full article about utility shut-offs and evictions by Mary Keck at Futurity.