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Statewide survey: many Hispanics receive no federal relief


“This is really challenging time for all of us with the public health emergency, especially those who are most vulnerable,” Doña Ana County Commissioner Manuel Sanchez said Wednesday, July 1, as he participated in a Zoom news conference to discuss a statewide survey regarding Hispanic families in New Mexico who are ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief.

“Immigrant brothers and sisters too often are overlooked,” Sanchez said, and yet they are an “integral part of our county. They go to work the same as we all do. They go to school, and they’re going through the same challenges. Leadership in Washington have provided billions of dollars to corporations when really the people need it.”

The survey, conducted by the research firm Latino Decisions, showed that 20 percent of Hispanic families in New Mexico have had someone in their household lose their job since the onset of COVID-19; 20 percent of Hispanic parents/primary caregivers have seen their business shut down and/or see significant drops in revenue; 33 percent of parents/primary caregivers have had trouble paying their rent or mortgage; and 48 percent had work hours cut or their pay cut, but have kept their job.

The survey also showed that nearly one-third of Hispanic families in New Mexico need help with wages and income as a result of COVID-19, and that nearly half have $1,000 or less for emergencies.

For the survey, conducted June 4-12, Latino Decisions randomly interviewed 480 Hispanic parents of children 18 years or younger, according to www.latinodecisions.com. It conducted online surveys, as well as live landlines and cell telephone interviews.

The survey has a 4.4 percent margin of error, said Gabriel Sanchez, Ph.D., lead researcher for Latino Decisions, adding that 165 of survey respondents were immigrants.

Here are other survey results:

  • 38 percent said they had used up all or most of their savings during the pandemic; 24 percent said they had postponed or cut back on health-related expenses during COVID-19; 24 percent said they had skipped a car, rent or mortgage payment; 24 percent said they had borrowed money from friends or family; 19 percent said they had postponed or stopped paying career/education-related expenses; 18 percent said they had borrowed money from a pay-day or easy loan company; and 15 percent said they had applied for a loan from a bank or credit union.
  • 23 percent have lost employer-provided health insurance, and 26 percent of the children of those surveyed have lost their health insurance.
  • 44 percent have experienced much higher internet and/or cell phone bills because more people in their homes are working and/or going to school online.
  • 71 percent reported either receiving a $1,200 payment for a single person (40 percent), or a $2,400 payment for a two-person household (31 percent). 29 percent did not receive any payment from the CARES Act and 40 percent did not receive any additional payments for their children.
  • 67 percent did not receive any unemployment benefits. 36 percent said they were ineligible for benefits; 27 percent did not apply for personal reasons; 13 percent tried to apply but could not get through to submit an application; 11 percent applied but were denied benefits; 17 percent did not know about unemployment benefits; and 11 percent said they did not know how to apply for benefits or the application process was too confusing to use.
  • 31 percent of respondents work in healthcare; 20 percent are first responders; 17 percent work in a restaurant or grocery story; 14 percent work in retail; 11 percent in food and agriculture production; 10 percent in government, five percent in education and five percent in transportation.
  • 82 percent said their employer provides them with protective equipment like gloves, masks and sanitizer, and 88 percent said they feel safe performing their jobs.
  • 89 percent said they agree that “Hispanic families feel the pain/frustration of the African American community due to shared experiences.” 82 percent said they have used the George Floyd video as an opportunity to speak with their children about racism.