COVID-19: Anticipated Impact - Beneficiaries

COVID-19 is creating hardships for everyone, however, these hardships are disproportionately impacting our under-resourced neighbors. They are least equipped to confront a sustained loss of income and have fewer options when it comes to childcare and transportation. They are more likely to face food insecurity, housing instability, chronic health problems, and limited access to healthcare and educational resources outside of school. The following insights share the anticipated impact this pandemic will have on each age group of under-resourced Memphians.

Infants (Ages Less Than 2)

  • Infants in home visitation programs will experience an interruption to their support during a critical time of development

  • Families will face challenges with food security, which can have life-long adverse impacts on the health and well-being of infants

  • For children in daycare, those facilities have likely closed, such that they are receiving less engagement and attention on a daily basis

  • Parental stress can influence parenting styles and the amount of time and attention paid to young children, particarly as parents manage unemployment and other challenges

Children (Ages 2 to 12)

  • Schools are closed, which forces children to learn remotely. Some families do not have access to computers and the internet in their homes

  • As children are out of school for much of spring semester, the summer slide will likely be more severe for children from under-resourced families, leaving them with greater knowledge gaps when they return to school

  • Students are losing access to within-school supports (e.g., wraparound and mentorship programs) that help them work through and overcome the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis

  • Children will have less supervision now that they are out of school, which could expose them to some risky behaviors like substance abuse, criminal activity, and so on

  • Children will miss regular pediatric check-ups and doctor’s visits as the healthcare system shifts to accommodate the COVID-19 epidemic. This could have long-term impacts on their health if it is not remedied following the crisis

  • More families are likely to experience homelessness, which has major adverse effects for children and increases the risk that they enter into the foster care system

Teenagers (Ages 13 to 17)

  • Schools are closed, which forces teenagers to learn remotely. Some families do not have access to computers and the internet in their homes

  • As teenagers are out of school for much of spring semester, the summer slide will likely be more severe for children from under-resourced families, leaving them with greater knowledge gaps when they return to school

  • Students are losing access to within-school supports (e.g., wraparound and mentorship programs) that help them work through and overcome the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis

  • Teenagers can be exposed to food insecurity, as they are not receiving meals at school and families’ cash flows could be limited due to job losses or unemployment

  • Teenagers who work are particularly susceptible to layoffs and unemployment due to business closures and the economic fallout of COVID-19. The lost income due to this unemployment could further strain family budgets

  • Teenagers will have less supervision now that they are out of school, which could expose them to some risky behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, criminal activity, etc.)

Emerging Adults (Ages 18 to 25)

  • Young adults are at risk for high healthcare costs during this time period. Many young adults are uninsured or underinsured and could incur exorbitant medical bills as a result of a COVID-19 related hospitalization

  • Widespread layoffs are occurring, particularly in the retail and service sectors, which will affect emerging adults acutely and put a strain on income

  • Young adults who have children will lose access to childcare during this time as schools and daycares close. For those who are still working, they will incur high childcare costs or be forced to stay home from their jobs to care for children

  • For people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, housing options are even harder to come by. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced some shelters to close or limit their ability to take in new residents. Funding for other forms of housing (e.g., temporary hotel stays) is scarce

  • For young adults pursuing post-secondary education, programs have moved to remote operations or paused entirely. Many under-resourced college students have limited access to computers and wireless internet which could hinder their ability to finish their programs

  • For young adults in job-training programs, these programs have also moved to remote operations or paused. The crisis could delay graduation for students from these programs. Additionally, the uncertain economic environment could hamper participants’ abilities to take advantage of the certificate or education they’ve earned following graduation

Adults (Ages 26 to 59)

  • Adults are faced with higher healthcare costs for themselves and their families. While adults are insured at a higher rate than younger adults, many under-resourced families have high-deductible insurance policies or limited insurance policies that only cover a selection of costs

  • Layoffs and unemployment is the main concern for this age cohort as businesses are closed and companies are taking steps to cut their workforces

  • For adults who are still working, they will face additional childcare burdens as children are home from school and daycare. This could force them to stay home from work or make other arrangements to care for their children during the workday

  • For families experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, housing options are even harder to come by. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced some shelters to close or limit their ability to take in new residents. Funding for other forms of housing (e.g., temporary hotel stays) is scarce

Seniors (Ages 60 and Above)

  • For seniors who contract COVID-19, they are particularly susceptible to complications from the illness, making it imperative they heed calls for social distancing and local quarantines

  • For seniors who work, they are at risk of losing their jobs due to the ongoing economic fallout from the pandemic. If they are unable to return to their job following the crisis, it could be more difficult for them than other adults to find new employment.

  • Seniors who rely on in-home support and meal delivery could face an interruption in services given the challenges of food distribution and care delivery in the midst of the crisis

  • Grandparents who provide childcare could be put at higher risk as parents ask them to take care of children more often, which could more readily expose them to the virus

  • For seniors with existing healthcare needs, the crisis could create an interruption in care that could inhibit the management of a chronic condition or generate increased healthcare costs in the long run