Ruth Talbot

Updated on Oct. 30 at 9:32 p.m.

This story was co-reported by Iowa Public Radio News, the Center for Public Integrity and NPR.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Waterloo. The senior high school in Fort Dodge. The Masonic Temple in Council Bluffs.

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When COVID-19 claimed its first 100,000 lives in the U.S., Hidalgo County, Texas, seemed to have avoided the worst of it. The county, which sits on the border with Mexico, had just 10 deaths when the U.S. crossed that tragic milestone on May 27.

Millions have lost their jobs during the coronavirus shutdowns, placing an unprecedented burden on public welfare programs designed to help people in these situations. For those people and others who are hurting financially as a result of the virus, it's often the case that where you live determines what kind of help is available.