Fifty-eight percent of Spanish-speaking Latinx residents have been unable to pay rent in May, and 51 percent say someone in their household has lost a job during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey from the North Carolina immigrant rights group Siembra NC. 

The more than 300 respondents were drawn from Siembra NC’s text message list and live in the Triangle, Triad, and Charlotte area, which means the survey is likely not representative of North Carolina’s entire Latinx population. Still, the results underscore how damaging the crisis has been on families that often fly below the radar and are not protected by the safety net. 

“This report reflects what we’re seeing in COVID-19 infection rates as well,” Durham City Council member Javiera Caballero said in a press release this week. “Latinos are being disproportionately impacted, and we have to be aware of the ways different groups are being impacted in order to make sure no one falls through the cracks.”

The survey paints a grim picture: 70 percent of respondents said they need help paying rent; 60 percent said they can’t pay their utility bills; 42 percent need help with groceries; and 23 percent say they need better access to medical care and assistance with car payments and phone bills. 

Nearly half, meanwhile, did not know how to obtain food assistance or face coverings amid the pandemic. Only 13 percent said they lived in a household that received stimulus funds or unemployment benefits. 

“The overwhelming majority suggested financial help for bills and rent payments, similar to the federal government stimulus, as the number one priority,” Siembra NC said in a statement.

Contact staff writer Thomasi McDonald at

DEAR READERS, WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW MORE THAN EVER. Support independent local journalism by joining the INDY Press Club today. Your contributions will keep our fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle, coronavirus be damned.