Opinion: Hampton Roads seeks to mine opportunity from crisis

Categories : Press Room

state of the region

With higher unemployment, it should be no surprise that demands for help have increased throughout Hampton Roads. The percentage of the population in the region receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits jumped from 9.9% prior to the pandemic to 11.4% in July. While this may seem like a small increase, it meant that more than 25,500 of the region’s residents found themselves in need of public assistance. As we write in the report, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank have helped fill the gap. These nonprofit organizations are not only highly efficient, but they also provide a range of services aimed at reducing food insecurity in the region.

The bad news was not equally borne nationally or in the region. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, relative to the share of population, Blacks or African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be infected, hospitalized and die from COVID-19. While Blacks or African Americans comprise approximately 30.7% of the population in Hampton Roads, they accounted for more than 58% of continuing unemployment claims in September. National data point to higher signs of anxiety and depression for Black or African American and Hispanic households relative to white and Asian households. Read the full article here.