How COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on West Michigan communities

Apr 17, 2020

Credit Human Rights Campaign

Stephanie Pierce, Director of Community Engagement, from the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute shares that many in the African American community are struggling with not knowing what will happen once eviction moratoriums are lifted and unemployment funds run out.

“Will I have employment when I come out of this? Will I have some place when I come out of this? Right now there are securities in place to keep people from evictions, but what happens when the rent comes due?”

While the undocumented immigrant community has some similar concerns, Sergio Cira Reyes, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha GR, says they are most concerned about not being able to access the support others can due to a lack of legal status.

“The lack of qualifications to receive the federal checks that are coming to people, other services that they have never been able to qualify for like cash assistance these other types of aids that they desperately right now they don’t qualify for.”

But for many in the disability community social distancing is causing them to lack the necessary support to have their needs met according to Dave Bulkowski, executive director with Disability Advocates of Kent County.

“It’s just a lot tougher for some folks to get their basic needs met when staying separate is not either the best for your mental health or for your physical health.”

**The audio for this story was obtained  through Webinar: Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 in West Michigan on April 16, 2020.