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New Report Paints Grim Picture Of Pandemic’s Impact On Florida Families

Photo: Leo Rivas

A new report from the Annie E Casey Foundation provides a grim snapshot of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Florida families. 

The Kids Count report finds families in the Sunshine State are faring worse than families elsewhere in three areas: housing, health care and food security. 

Florida Kids Count director Dr. Norin Dollard said before the pandemic, more than one third of Florida children lived in households which were spending 30 percent or more of their income on rent. 

She said those households were at least able to pay rent. 

“But now, like a quarter have no, little or no confidence that they’re going to be able to make their rent or mortgage payment next month.”

Nationally, 18 percent of households had slight or no confidence about making the next rent or mortgage payment on time, compared to 23 percent of households in Florida. 

Dollard says the pandemic has also amplified academic challenges for kids from struggling households. 

“The kids that are not faring as well in this virtual education scenario, are the ones that, they weren’t thriving to begin with, so whatever can be done not to lose those kids.”

The Annie  E Casey Foundation says lawmakers can help struggling families by improving access to things like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and expanding the Section 8 Housing Choice voucher program. 

The foundation also calls for better funding for schools so they can meet the needs of students who are worse affected by the pandemic, and improve access to technology in the classroom and at home. 

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About Matthew Peddie

Matt Peddie