United Way survey designed to assess economic impact of virus on La.

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2020

United Ways across Louisiana launched a statewide survey Tuesday to assess the economic impact that COVID-19 is having on Louisiana families. All families in Louisiana are encouraged to take the survey at www.launitedway.org/COVID19-Impact.

“We know that our ALICE families pre-COVID-19 pandemic struggle on a day-to-day basis to make ends meet. And here in Southwest Louisiana, 47 percent of our population is struggling — they’re either ALICE or below,” explained Denise Durel, president & CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana. “ALICE is always on the forefront of our minds, especially with the pandemic … a lot of our ALICE families aren’t even aware there are services out there for them, and that they qualify. We just wanted to see if there was a way we could wrap our arms around them and see what’s going on and give us a chance to really listen to them.”

Durel said the survey is an anonymous way residents can “give us some real feedback so we can in turn look at that data and talk to our partners and see what we can do and what changes we can make … to direct more services to the ALICE population.”

Email newsletter signup

One in four Louisiana households are led by workers who would be unable to earn enough to cover the basics while saving up for an unexpected crisis, therefore this pandemic has stripped many assets and put many families into unfamiliar and uncomfortable financial positions, Durel said.

“We’re just trying to see if there are programs we can make them aware of or improve on,” she said. “The survey is open to everyone Louisiana, whether you think you’re ALICE or not.”

The survey seeks information on a range of topics such as pressing concerns, job changes and advantages along with other difficult economic changes.

The survey takes about 10 minutes, including questions such as “What are you concerned about in the weeks and months ahead?” Answer options for this question include the economic health of one’s community; paying rent or mortgage; you or a loved one getting COVID-19; your children’s well-being; remote learning; adequate child care; getting food and other things you need; a mental health issue such as depression, addiction and anxiety; medical issues other than COVID-19; paying other bills; attending church or other social gatherings; and an option for other causes.

The survey “helps direct us in our work. It gives us the data that we need so we can see where we have gaps in service, where people are living in a particular area. We can work with our partners — traditional and nontraditional — to see if we can bring programs to those specific programs,” Durel said.

Another way to help United Way in providing for those who are struggling, especially during the pandemic, is to donate to the organization’s relief fund.

“We’ve been very fortunate in Southwest Louisiana. Here … we’re focused on food access and housing stability,” Durel said.

On Tuesday, United Way hosted their third food distribution event and gave out 100,000 pounds of free groceries to 700 cars and 2,900 people, something Durel said is “only possible with our partnerships.”

Those wishing to join the effort can call United Way at 433-1088 or visit their website at unitedwayswla.org to make a donation.