HEALTH PRIORITY 3
Black and Hispanic/Latino households earned 29% and 34% below the county median.
Survey respondents agreed or completely agreed with the statement that there was enough affordable housing that is safe and well-kept in their community.
Total respondents indicated that they or a member of their family had lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial insecurity was reported as a priority concern in the majority of focus groups and interviews, with participants indicating that COVID-19 has exacerbated long-standing issues of inequity. There was notable income inequality among certain racial/ethnic groups in Somerset County; Asian and White households reported incomes that were higher than the median household income in Somerset County respectively, while Black and Hispanic/Latino households earned below the county median in 2015-2019.7 During the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate peaked at 12.8% for Somerset County in June 2020.8. And focus group and interview participants described the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential front-line workers, lower wage workers, and Latino residents, and how many lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently.
HOW WE’RE GETTING THERE
Address the root causes of economic disparities in Somerset County so all have equitable access to economic opportunities and sustainable financial security.
3.1: By December 2024, increase the number of safe, energy efficient, and accessible housing options at all levels of affordability.
3.2: By December 2024, increase participation in current/existing financial literacy programs/services that are targeted across the lifespan and have an equity focus.
3.3: By December 2024, increase the percent of people who can meet their living expenses and contribute to savings.
3.4: By December 2024, increase the percent of people who rise above the ALICE (Asset- Limited, Income- Constrained, Employed) poverty guidelines in Somerset County.