The CARES Act approved by Congress in 2020 established a $150 billion dollar Coronavirus Relief Fund. It provided payments to state, local, and tribal governments, but relief expired at the end of 2021.

Jennifer Sherman.

Sociologist Jennifer Sherman, a professor at Washington State University, says this is affecting rural communities of the Northwest.

“Very often, rural housing insecurity looks different. It might mean, doubling up or couch surfing or things like that,” she says.

“You’re less likely to have any kinds of services for the rural poor as well. So I think I think they’re less visible and easier to ignore.”

Sherman, who studies rural poverty and income inequality, suggests policymakers look into subsidizing things like housing, healthcare, childcare and food. Expanding access to life’s necessities could especially help vulnerable populations, she says.

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