More than half of Latino families in Colorado reported difficulties paying bills during pandemic, poll finds The Denver Post

Sixty percent of Latino families in Colorado have had someone in their household lose a job or get their hours cut during the COVID-19 pandemic and 56% had difficulties paying bills or utilities, according to the results of a new poll released Tuesday.

Of the 1,000 adult respondents, 50% said they had difficulty paying rent or mortgage and a third said their household didn’t have enough food to eat. As reported previously, Latinos have been affected disproportionately by COVID-19, and 46% of those who took the survey reported a family member or friend dying of the virus.

More than a third of respondents reported using up most or all of their savings to pay for expenses and 11% borrowed money from a payday or easy loan company with a high interest rate. Forty-two percent of respondents said they had $1,000 or less in emergency savings — and a full 20% reported having less than $100 in savings.

The survey, commissioned by the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, was conducted Aug. 16-31 by Democratic polling firm BSP Research. The firm asked Latino respondents about issues affecting their communities, including those that arose during the pandemic, online or by phone, in English and Spanish.

The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, also received financial support from the political science department at Metropolitan State University of Denver, the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus, Voces Unidas de las Montañas and Protégete of Conservation Colorado.

“In the Western Slope, as an organization that has been working with Latinas and Latinos during the pandemic, we have seen many of these indicators that we saw in the poll from members of our community losing hours or being literally laid off for long periods of time,” said Alex Sánchez, executive director of Voces Unidas de las Montañas.

The pandemic exacerbated inequities for people of color including Latinos, and this was evidenced even more on the Western Slope, Sánchez said. Many of the Latinos in the mountain resort communities were working in the service industry or in low-wage jobs that offered few benefits. The survey found, for example, that Latinos on the Western Slope were more likely to not have enough food or have more difficulty paying bills than those living in other parts of the state.

Those who took the poll also were asked about top federal and state issues. Issues such as providing high-speed internet access for all Coloradans received majority support, with 57% of respondents saying they strongly support it and 29% saying they somewhat support it (3% strongly oppose, 7% somewhat oppose and 4% don’t know).

Requiring developers to include affordable housing also received high support with 64% saying they strongly support it and 24% saying they somewhat support it (3% strongly oppose, 5% somewhat oppose and 4% don’t know).

The full survey results are expected to be released next month.

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