Propel's response to COVID-19.
Stepping up for SNAP families during this time of crisis and extreme need.
At Propel, we help low-income Americans improve their financial health. We do this by building modern, respectful, and effective technology, like Fresh EBT.
COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on low-income Americans. We’re working hard to reduce this impact for our 3 million Fresh EBT users:
Helping our users access donations.
At least 1 million families who use Fresh EBT need urgent help. They have no more checks coming in, little on hand, and never had the money to stock up.
We’re partnering with GiveDirectly to help our users access what they need most right now: cash.
Through this partnership, we will be able to quickly deliver $1,000 per household, limited only by what we can fundraise.
Keeping our users informed.
COVID-19 updates have been constant and confusing for all. Misinformation is rampant, and it's hard to keep up with policy changes and timelines. Many relief efforts that can benefit our users are underway across the private and public sectors.
Fresh EBT is a proven tool for clear and direct communication of critical information. We’re sharing national and state-specific policy updates with our users about SNAP and beyond. We're sharing carefully vetted resources and offers as well.
Do you know of any resources that low-income Americans should be aware of?
Sharing our users' experiences.
Living paycheck to paycheck, SNAP households already faced uncertainty. The economic fallout of COVID-19 has put them in immediate danger. We survey our users each month to understand how the circumstances in their lives are changing.
For more detailed information about our most recent survey or trends we have tracked since March 2020:
Our Key Findings
Survey responses from a random sample of 1,000 Fresh EBT users.
Updated May 29, 2020
Food insecurity is consistently widespread and acute.
55.9% of respondents report food insecurity since Coronavirus; including skipping meals, using food pantries, or relying on others for meals.
Of respondents who got extra SNAP benefits in the last month, 30% report food insecurity. Indicating extra SNAP benefits played a role in reducing food insecurity for those families.
Only 16% of families with school-aged children have received P-EBT.
Of all respondents, 85% of families have school aged children.
Two-thirds of families continue to have little cash, but recently more have been able to stock up.
67% have 3 days or less worth of cash on hand, but 50% fewer respondents report either stocking up “barely” or “not at all”, and having 3 days or less of cash on hand since early May, indicating that stimulus payments and other extra help have allowed people to stock up without much cash remaining.
Current housing continues to feel insecure for many.
When asked whether they will be able to maintain their current housing situation, half reported the odds as “fifty fifty”, or indicated they either “probably will not” or “will not” be able to stay. Over one-third have concerns over paying rent or their mortgage.
81% of workers have lost earnings due to Coronavirus. More than half have lost their job completely.
Of all those employed in 2020, 57% have lost their jobs.
Black and Latinx Americans were more likely to lose jobs and income due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
Of Black respondents working in 2020, 60% report job loss. 64% of Latinx respondents who were working in 2020 report job loss. In contrast, only 44% of White respondents who were working in 2020 report job loss.
Unemployment systems start to work more reliably as more applicants get determinations.
85% of Fresh EBT users who are “likely eligible for unemployment” have successfully filed an initial claim for Unemployment Benefits. This is a 24% increase since early May.
Stimulus payments are going towards housing, food, and household items.
Respondents report spending their Economic Impact Payments on: Bills and rent (63.5%), Food (30.6%), Household items (30.6%).
“My job as well as my daughter's job has been closed which puts us in a panic about bills and other expenses. The kids are out of school. They eat a lot and food and other essentials won’t last. I want us to be safe but I’m so scared we won’t have money for rent, cable, lights, food.”
- Felicia in New York
“The hardest choice so far is to choose between paying my bills or buy the food I need for my family and I to survive on. The choice is hard because do we want to let the bills rack up? Or pay them and suffer?”
- Annamarie in Oklahoma