Coronavirus – The Impact on the Homeless
As all of our lives have been affected by the coronavirus, we are all taking appropriate measures to protect our families. Scrambling to gather water and life’s little necessities, In doing so, I forgot about our nation’s most vulnerable class, the homeless. How is the coronavirus affecting the homeless? It wasn’t until I heard a news broadcast about the homeless; my eyes were opened to the terrible possibilities they may face. You may be asking telling yourself, “I feel sorry for them, but what does that have to do with me?” Allowing the coronavirus to spread across our homeless communities will only give it strength and add to the infection rate, thus endangering our health and the health of our children.
It’s the little things that matter.
For many of us, small things like having food and shelter are just a given. In fact, we seldom contemplate not having it. For me, experiencing the coronavirus pandemic paints a vivid picture of how important a luxury such as having a roof over my head is. How many of us have stopped to think that the ability to self-isolate is a luxury? The homeless do not have this option. In shelters, beds are sometimes only six inches apart, rendering social distancing an impossibility. We are told if we are experiencing symptoms to stay home and self-isolate. We are encouraged to work remotely. Again this is an impossibility for America’s poor, the homeless. According to a recent count from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, over 560,000 Americans were homeless on any given night in January 2019. Nearly 80,000 just in New York City alone. Roughly 37% of those people were un-sheltered, while 63% were in sheltered locations. As the coronavirus spreads, it is only a matter of time before our homeless are infected.
Coronavirus affects the homeless by attacking weakened immune systems
The people who are experiencing being homeless are struggling daily just to survive. Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and high stress all play a part in weakening their immune systems, according to the CEO of the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, Bobby Watts.
Coupled with substance abuse, mental illness, and lack of essential resources, the homeless are incredibly vulnerable to contracting and spreading the coronavirus. Those who make the streets their home have limited opportunities to properly bath or go to the bathroom, let alone wash their hands for 30 seconds, and use hand sanitizer. Improper hygiene further compromises their immune system. Filthy clothing and improper wound care only add to the problem. Many shelters and non-profits do not have access to enough thermometers or test kits. Also, if they do have a high temp, is it from the virus or withdrawals? Something as easy as taking a temperature can have complexities when dealing with the homeless.
Unfortunately, many of our homeless are plagued with mental illness, and will not comprehend the possible dangers we are facing concerning the coronavirus. Again, this places all of us at a higher risk as the disease spreads. Many of the homeless will do what they can if provided the right resources, which shelters, non-profits, and government agencies are trying to accomplish. However, there will be some who have no understanding or care about exposing others. They may be under the influence, have learning disabilities, or they could just not care. The handling of mental illness is and has been a big problem in the United States. Now, with the coronavirus, it may become worse as it proliferates. This is one of the many facets that are out of our control.
Coronavirus and the working poor
In 2018, 38.1 million people lived in poverty. A lot of the working poor are one paycheck away from homelessness themselves. As the coronavirus crushes our economy, many of the working poor may find themselves without a job and facing homelessness. They will be faced with tough decisions such as the inability to go to work due to school and daycare closures, losing more of what little money they receive. Many of the working poor depend on school nutrition programs to feed their children. As schools across the country begin to close, that resource will no longer be available to them. If people around them become ill, they may be forced to stay home and care for their family members. This can be a difficult decision for someone with little income and no savings. As the days unfold, the coronavirus pandemic will make life increasingly hard for them.
Coronavirus and Homeless – reducing volunteers
Volunteers run many shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens. The government is telling people, especially those in the high-risk category, to stop performing “non-essential” activities. I am sure many people love to help out but still consider it “non-essential.” These organizations must find ways to deliver life-sustaining goods and care to America’s poor, even if their manpower is diminished. This is one more challenge that the coronavirus is giving our society. How we meet that challenge remains to be seen.
Coronavirus and the homeless – Conclusion:
It is still far too early to tell what effects the coronavirus may have on our population. Perhaps our ability to deliver test kits and increase the number of hand sanitizing stations may help reduce the curve of this disease. Being in the real estate industry for eighteen years, I have always loved helping people get into their homes. I realize the value of a home as not only a place to raise a family but a place where we can protect our family during pandemics such as the coronavirus pandemic. Though this blog originates from a real estate website, I still felt the topic was relevant. We are all in this together, after all.
About the Author
Benjamin Ross is a real estate expert, investor, writer, and professional who serves his clients by writing unique content to incorporate into their blog, marketing strategy, or website. Benjamin offers his clients real estate content written by an experienced industry professional and top writer who has been quoted by Forbes, Us, and World News, Realtor.com, and Yahoo Finance, to name a few. Many writers are efficient and skilled, but few have any actual real estate experience or an intimate understanding of the industry. Benjamin can offer you this unique blend to further advance your real estate business. Contact him today!
More about Benjamin Ross
As a Realtor, it is Benjamin’s priority and intention to treat you, the client, the way he would want to be treated if he was the client. Benjamin believes every client is unique with a unique set of goals. It is Benjamin’s job to help his clients accomplish their goals big and small.
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As a Community Leader, Benjamin has partnered with the PSJA (Pharr San Juan Alamo) school district helping future business owners navigate their path to success. Benjamin serves as a mentor as well as engaging with high school student within the classroom, teaching them what it takes to be successful. Benjamin also contributes financially to further promote the activities of the school district, especially for low-income students. Benjamin takes pride in and loves serving his PSJA community near McAllen, Texas.