COVID-19 and the Social Determinants of Health

Concurrent Session Block 3: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET Thursday, September 17


A Pandemic Meets a Housing Crisis
Housing instability in the United States has been exacerbating health disparities and causing worse health outcomes for low-income individuals and people of color well before the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 increased the number of families afflicted with housing instability and prompted an unprecedented government response to this issue. Certain legal constraints that perpetuated a system of discrimination were rapidly suspended or amended, given that it was not only low-income individuals, but also middle and upper-class people who struggled with housing and utility payments, income insecurity and other stressors exacerbated by the pandemic. However, in many instances, laws that are equally applied to all individuals widened the gap between people at different places on the socioeconomic continuum. This session with discuss the compounding demographic factors that complicate the legal response to housing problems and will offer recommendation for mitigating the negative effects of policies and regulations that contribute to housing instability.

  • Courtney Lauren Anderson, JD, LLM, Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law

Protecting Jobs and Income during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the harmful impacts of disparities in access to workplace supports like paid leave and unemployment benefits, and has led to worsening economic conditions for people already living on the margins. In March 2020, Congress enacted temporary emergency paid sick and family leave for the first time, as well as expanded unemployment benefits, but both programs have serious gaps that disproportionately impact women, people of color, low-income workers, and immigrants. This session will examine the income and job protection policy responses to COVID-19 and will include recommendations for additional solutions that center the needs of low-wage workers and families, and prioritize racial and gender equity and access for immigrants.

  • Sharon Terman, J.D., Director, Work and Family Program and Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Aid at Work