This is a guest blog from the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA).
As we better understand COVID-19, we uncover more evidence of inequality in our communities.
In the City of Alexandria, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 1,000 residents varies dramatically by ZIP code. In the 22305 ZIP code, the number of confirmed cases per 1,000 residents is 19.7 – nearly four times the next highest rate of confirmed cases in Alexandria, and higher than the number of positive cases per 1,000 residents in Manhattan, which was 12.48 as of May 17.
A sizable majority of residents in 22305 are people of color, and are our essential workers—grocery store clerks, delivery persons, bus drivers, and restaurant workers—who maintain critical economic and community activities while the rest of us shelter at home. The disparities evidenced by the number of COVID-19 cases in the 22305 ZIP code are not unique to Alexandria. Across the country, evidence suggests this virus disproportionately impacts low-income people and people of color.
We cannot successfully reopen our economy or stem the spread of COVID-19 without addressing the systemic inequities that have enabled the virus to ravage low-income and minority communities, and laid bare our lack of investment and de-prioritization of those who make our economy and our society run. Moving from stabilization to recovery, we must fill the gaps that exist for so many of our residents. Because this pandemic has taught us how interconnected we are.
In a post-pandemic world, what does equitable recovery look like? See NVAHA’s recommendations here.
NVAHA’s mission is to expand political will to make housing affordability a regional priority through education and community outreach, increased financial resources, and a sustained commitment to meeting the housing needs of low and moderate income households. NVAHA executive director Michelle Krocker is a HousingForward Virginia board member.
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