March 26, 2020

Decade of state budget cuts has left Florida even more vulnerable in dealing with coronavirus outbreak [op-ed]

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

The rapid rise and spread of COVID-19 is shining a bright light on deeply embedded inequities in society and the economy. But these disparities existed long before the pandemic. And in Florida, a state with one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation and one of the highest rates of uninsured residents, these impacts are amplified.  

According to the United Way ALICE report, 50 percent of families in Broward County don’t have enough for a “survival budget”— necessities like rent, childcare, and transportation. For these households, heeding advice from the Centers for Disease Control to stock up on essential items such as food and medications is difficult, if not impossible.

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