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Report: WA Families Face Instability in Families, Housing

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Thursday, December 17, 2020   

SEATTLE -- Families in Washington state are struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new report details how.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation found one in eleven Evergreen State families doesn't have enough to eat and one in eight isn't sure they'll be able to pay the rent or mortgage on time.

Dr. Stephan Blanford, executive director of the Children's Alliance, said the national figures show stark racial disparities, with families of color struggling at much higher rates.

"There's some sense of urgency around trying to figure out ways to direct resources to those families who've been underinvested for generations here in Washington state," Blanford explained.

The report finds close to a third of Black families and nearly a quarter of Latino families nationwide aren't sure they'll be able to pay the rent or mortgage on time.

Washington families also are struggling on the health side. One in twelve doesn't have health insurance and nearly one in five say they've felt depressed or hopeless because of the pandemic.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Foundation, said children, both in good and bad times, deserve to have their basic needs met.

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

Blanford noted many Washingtonians live in areas that lack affordable, high-quality child care. He added his organization is going to focus on this issue in the upcoming legislative session.

"Intention and focus on building up and making robust the child-care providers across the state is going to be critically imperative because that has long-term implications for kids' ability to learn over their K-12 careers," Blanford contended.

The report recommends leaders prioritize racial and ethnic equity; help ensure families are stable financially through programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and ensure schools are better and more equitably funded.

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


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