Hispanic Federation and New America Release Report, “Overcoming COVID-19: Economic Barriers for Latino Communities”


Jessica Orozco Guttlein
212-233-8955, Ext. 140

Report combines key survey findings and recommendations from close to 3,000 Latino community members, 90 small business owners, and 90 Latino nonprofit professionals and community advocates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and Puerto Rico

NEW YORK – A new report from Hispanic Federation and New America, Overcoming COVID-19: Economic Barriers for Latino Communities, describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Latinos in critical aspects of life. As Latinos and other groups collectively battled the coronavirus, the Hispanic Federation and New America’s New Practice Lab began a process to help fill information gaps and provide recommendations to help address this existential challenge. The paper is a result of community participatory research to increase the information on how current conditions impact the livelihood and well-being of Latinos.

Using the collective wisdom of Latino civic leaders, business owners, nonprofits, and individuals the report lays out a series of specific policies that can help our communities recover. It describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Latinos in three vital areas: work, food, and shelter; and recommends actions to help communities survive and recover from the pandemic. These include recommendations to:

  • Expand and better target relief assistance by prioritizing lower-income communities, expanding emergency cash assistance through community-based organizations that can reach Latinos most in need, and targeting the expanded Payroll Protection Program to ensure funding gets to smaller and minority-owned businesses.
  • Enhance worker rights and protections to guarantee safety protocols for all workers, especially agricultural workers, inform workers about their rights, ensure worker benefits for employees who fall ill with COVID-19, and provide equitable pay, especially for essential workers.
  • Create access to a wide range of job creation and training efforts, from immediate community hiring measures to longer-term job creation and training investments, universal access to childcare, and financial education and services for individuals and families.
  • Expand, improve, and better target food-related assistance, including access to free breakfast and lunch for children who are out of school, increasing food delivery (including to those who must isolate due to COVID-19 infection or exposure), and ensure that food provided is nutritious, so it does not exacerbate diseases like diabetes and childhood obesity.
  • Extend eviction moratoriums, suspending rent and mortgage payments, and expanding the application window for rent relief assistance, with streamlined rules and processes.
  • Implement cross-cutting policies that improve the ability to access recovery assistance such as: ending the exclusion of mixed-status and undocumented people from relief services and bridging the digital divide that has prevented Latinos from connecting to lifesaving assistance, quality employment opportunities and other resources.

“For the last year, our community has been under siege. The COVID-19 virus has disrupted our lives, shaken the foundations of our communities, and inflicted staggering losses —both personal and economic— that grow by the day. We are living an unprecedented moment; a watershed event for us all,” said Frankie Miranda, President, Hispanic Federation. “It is precisely because of the singular, historic nature of the pandemic that Hispanic Federation and New America have partnered to produce Overcoming COVID-19: Economic Barriers for Latino Communities, to chronicle the scope of the crisis and map a path forward.”

“Solving the inequities that COVID-19 laid bare requires understanding deeply what individuals and families need. The first step is asking them. This partnership was an important step to invest in understanding the barriers Latino communities face in crisis,” said New America CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter. “New America’s New Practice Lab begins and ends our work grounded in the voices of families, all families, including Latinos. We hope this report helps connect the policy making process to the voices and lived experiences of Latinos across the country.”

The report combines information and statistics from respected national, state, and local sources with key findings and recommendations from a three-part data collection effort: a community survey completed by nearly 3,000 Latinos (in both English and Spanish), a small business survey completed by more than 90 small businesses, and seven focus groups involving nearly 90 Latino nonprofit professionals and community advocates. Data was gathered in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and Puerto Rico.

Key findings and top recommendations from the report were presented on March 25, 2021 at Hispanic Federation’s COVID-19 Economic Impact Virtual Summit: The American Rescue Plan and the Latino Community. The summit built off key points outlined in the report and provided a space for conversation and coalition building among non-profit organizations and community to discuss the economic impacts of the pandemic on Latinos across the nation.

The full report is available in English and Spanish.

A recording of the summit can be viewed here:


About New America
New America is dedicated to renewing the promise of America by continuing the quest to realize our nation’s highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create. New America’s New Practice Lab works at the intersection of ideas and on-the ground experimentation to improve the design and delivery of policies focused on family economic security and wellbeing.