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 1,037 Fresh EBT users.
Updated July 19, 2020
Fresh EBT users are consistently concerned with the stability of their housing.
Consistently since April, half of Fresh EBT users report uncertainty in their housing due safety, the need to move to a new area or ability to pay rent.
In early July, 36% of respondents reported they “can no longer afford to pay rent/mortgage”.
13% of respondents who regularly pay rent or mortgage reported that they will not be paying July rent at all.
It is unclear how households are surviving this challenge. Some may be relying on short-term eviction moratoriums, while others may be paying partial rent or borrowing money from family, friends or other sources.
Since mid-May, about 11% of all respondents report a change in their housing situation each month; including leaving their housing or having new people move into their current housing.
Of those who had a housing change in the past 30 days, 20% report being evicted; including informal (by family or friends) and formal (through court order) evictions.
6% of all respondents have stayed at least one night in a shelter in the past 30 days.
Workers with reduced hours have started working more, but those who lost their jobs completely remain unemployed.
Of currently employed respondents, 60% are “working less” than they had pre-pandemic.
As states began opening their economies in June, the percentage of respondents that report that work is totally paused has fallen from 12% in mid-June to 4% in early July.
Of those who are currently employed, 38% expect to work more hours this month.
Of those who lost their jobs in 2020, only 19% expect to go back to work this month.
48% of respondents report losing their job completely due to COVID-19.
P-EBT reduces food insecurity, but only half of eligible families report receiving P-EBT payments.
About 50% of eligible families report receiving P-EBT. Families who received P-EBT payments report lower food insecurity than eligible families who had not received P-EBT; this includes skipping meals, visiting food pantries, and relying on others for meals in the past 30 days.
However, food insecurity remains high for both groups. 51.6% of eligible families who received P-EBT reported food insecurity, while 63.9% of eligible families who did not receive P-EBT reported food insecurity.
Supporting national statistics, women and people of color who use Fresh EBT are experiencing more housing and income insecurity.
Black Fresh EBT users were more likely to lose jobs and income due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
Of Black respondents working in 2020, 56% report job loss.
In contrast, 50% of Latinx respondents and 46% of White respondents who were working in 2020 report job loss. Of Black respondents currently employed, 82% report a loss of income.
In contrast, 77% of Latinx respondents and 69% of White respondents who were working in 2020 report loss of income.
Black and Latinx respondents were more likely to report a change in their housing situation in the past month; this includes moving out or people moving into their home.
44% of Black and 45% Latinx respondents reported a change in their housing situation, compared to 33% of white respondents.
Women are more likely to report an eviction in the past 30 days.
17% of women reported experiencing eviction in the past 30 days, compared to 12% of men.
80% of Fresh EBT users are women with children, indicating that the majority of these evictions would have involved children.
“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