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The COVID-19 pandemic has, in many ways, highlighted the challenges and benefits of our collective humanity. It brought us together, it tore us apart. It spread great fear but also gave rise to great hope. It took the existing challenges facing the Treasure Valley – health, housing, education, and poverty, among others – and often made them more pronounced. Job losses and childcare capacity changes, and school shutdowns can be especially devastating for low-income families, and the stress of illness can accentuate financial stress. While these pandemic impacts occurred, Idaho’s housing costs continued rising significantly, adding yet another challenge for income-restricted households. It is hard to deny that the pandemic was a time of hardship for many households.

However, by making these challenges more visible and more a part of our social conversation the pandemic also created opportunities. The financial assistance provided for struggling families during the pandemic may have helped to mitigate some of the worst possibilities from COVID-19. In addition, the conversations sparked by these challenges may benefit Idaho and the Treasure Valley in the future.

Collecting data on humans is always a challenge, and COVID-19 certainly did not improve that challenge. Most data reporting agencies faced delays and complications, making it difficult to get a clear picture of the impact COVID-19 had on different aspects of society. However, as time goes on, obstacles give way, or paths get built around them. This report represents the best efforts to collect the latest data on the impacts of the pandemic on Idaho’s Treasure Valley composed of Ada, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, and Owyhee Counties, with a focus on demographics, poverty, housing, health, and education.

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