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New Report Underscores Plight of MN Families During Crisis

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Apart from eviction concerns and food insecurity, a new report says 8% of Minnesota households with children report not having health insurance. (Adobe Stock)
Apart from eviction concerns and food insecurity, a new report says 8% of Minnesota households with children report not having health insurance. (Adobe Stock)
December 16, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS -- There's new evidence that many Minnesota families are dealing with hardships during the pandemic. A new national report includes state-level data on households with children.

The findings from the Annie E. Casey Foundation come from weekly census survey data. In Minnesota, 11% of these households expressed concern about making their rent or mortgage payment, while 8% said they're experiencing food insecurity.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president for external affairs at the Casey Foundation, said it's clear that too many families are having trouble meeting basic needs for their children.

"The result of the pandemic is that many of these indicators of child well-being have suffered tremendously," she said, "and this is creating an increased and profound effect on families across the country."

The report also said 15% of Minnesota households with children described feeling "down, depressed or hopeless" in recent months. The national summary showed the struggles are pronounced for families of color. However, there was no state-level breakdown for racial groups.

The report is prompting renewed calls for Congress to approve another COVID-relief bill. At the state level, Jennifer Bertram, Kids Count coordinator at the Children's Defense Fund's Minnesota office, said leaders have undertaken a lot of efforts to provide help - but the need isn't disappearing.

"We see a pretty high level of unemployment still, for households with children, and added stress of families with young children needing supervision for distance learning," she said. "It is causing a pretty significant strain on families."

This week, the Minnesota Legislature approved a $216 million relief package, geared for boosting small businesses. It also includes an extension of jobless benefits, but Bertram said there's disappointment that $500 payments to low-income families were not included.

Disclosure: Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN