Today, the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) released the findings of its Federal Funding Community Needs Survey, shedding light on the pressing issues faced by food-insecure households in Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee. The survey results boldly indicate that access to affordable housing and food security remain top challenges across all three states. Local leaders can make a difference with millions of federal dollars from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), using these survey results as a tool to know what their constituents want.
This report builds on the SEAP 2022 ARP Community Needs Survey, which SEAP promoted in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The latest results echo similar concerns of affordable housing and utilities as top challenges, with food security rising to the forefront as a top issue for respondents as well. Other toplines include:
- 75% of respondents find it challenging to pay their home utilities
- More than half, 54%, struggle with personal debt and affordable housing
- 95% of respondents have not heard from any elected official or community leader about federal funds available for their communities.
“Equity in community engagement and implementation are cornerstones of the ARPA, BIL and IRA,” said SEAP’s Data Director, Maria Filippelli. “But we continually hear from underserved communities that engagement is not happening, and our surveys confirm that. Creating community engagement plans and braiding the funding streams can maximize the impact of these historic federal investments.”
This survey serves as a call to action for leaders across the region. By leveraging this valuable data, they can harness the power of federal funds to bring about tangible improvements in their communities. SEAP stands ready to support these efforts and foster collaboration between communities, elected officials, and local organizations to ensure funds address the most pressing needs of the most vulnerable populations in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For more information, please visit SEAP’s Federal Funding Outlet.
SEAP conducted this survey throughout February and March 2023. The survey drew more than 1,600 responses. If you have any questions, please contact SEAP’s Data Director, Maria Filippelli.
About the Southern Economic Advancement Project
The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP) is your partner and resource. SEAP amplifies existing organizations’ and networks’ efforts to broaden economic power and build a more equitable future. Broadening economic power brings attention to how race, class, and gender intersect in social and economic policy in the South. SEAP explores policy ideas designed to address these connections directly. SEAP focuses on 12 Southern states and marginalized/vulnerable populations within the region.