Black communities, disproportionately hit by inflation, step up to help those most in need

Tanisha Boston has been feeling the effects of inflation, from the gas pump to the grocery store, for months. So in April, the 31-year-old Los Angeles resident shared her frustrations on social media, writing, “Please check on your LA friends, we are NOT okay!” under a photo of herself in front of a gas station charging $7 per gallon.

Boston said that soaring prices — coupled with recently losing a job — has meant she now relies on food stamps to get by. Even though she earns some income as a freelance wardrobe stylist and Instagram influencer, she said she’s looking for additional jobs to survive.

“I’m realizing that one income isn’t going to cut it,” she said.

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According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation reached 8.5 percent in March — the highest since 1981 — putting everyday necessities like food, fuel and rent out of reach for many. And like most economic downturns, including the Great Recession and the pandemic, Black communities are disproportionately impacted. This means that Black households are now spending more of their post-tax income on necessities like food and energy, according to a new Bank of America report cited by Business Insider.

Amid this financial crunch, activists and community leaders are stepping up their work around food security and affordable housing to meet new needs in the Black community.

Hosea Helps is a Black-owned nonprofit in Atlanta that distributes meals and provides other services including rental and utilities assistance. Elizabeth Omilami, chief executive of the group, said she’s seeing an increase in the number of people who now need food. Over Easter, more than 600 vehicles lined up for food during the organization’s food distribution program.

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