The Devastating Effect COVID-19 has on the United States Homeless Population and What we can do to Help

When the pandemic first started, witnessing the world I once knew faded away, it opened my eyes to those who were the real victims of COVID-19, the homeless. So when I was given the chance to bring awareness to the struggles that much lower class and homeless people face due to the COVID-19 virus. Although COVID-19 is a threat to all of us it poses a unique danger to America’s homeless population due to a lack of social services as well as the economic aftermath of the pandemic more Americans are at risk of entering homelessness.

Infographics and statistics are supplied by United Way

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development noted in its 2019 annual report that in America’s 50 most populated cities, African-Americans make up the majority of the homeless population. Of the top 10 cities with the most eviction filings, numbers one through eight all qualify for that top 50 designation, meaning that the added stress these evictions are placing on resources dedicated to assisting those experiencing homelessness may be producing outsized negative impacts on homeless populations that are primarily composed of minorities.

Screenshot 2021-04-05 at 6.52.01 PM
Screenshot 2021-04-05 at 6.52.01 PM

There was no clear region in the country where COVID-19 led to the largest jump in unemployment. Nevertheless, it is clear from the data that statewide unemployment has been closely tied to local industries and their pandemic-related losses. For instance, the top two states for unemployment as of October 2020 were Hawaii and Nevada, both of which depend on tourism to fuel their local economies. In these states, people face unique challenges in moving away from homelessness as a lack of income severely limits their housing options, cited by the National Coalition for the Homeless. People experiencing homelessness in the United States are among the highest risks for infection, complication, and death from COVID-19. Many of the issues of white homeless Americans are amplified in black and native communities due to the systemic oppression they have faced prior to COVID-19. To halt the rapid growth of homelessness and thus the spreading of COVID-19 we must connect all people on the streets with safe accommodation and all those in temporary accommodations must be moved into permanent homes. There are many ways to avoid COVID-19 if you are homeless. You can do this by obviously taking part in social distancing mandates, traveling on social transportation at less busy times, and avoiding other crowded public settings. If you are not homeless there are many ways you are able to help the homeless population in the United States. You can do this by partaking in helping, and working with food drives, homeless shelters, and COVID-19 screening at homeless shelters. Hopefully my writing will open your eyes to the struggle of the homeless and lower class face during these already hard times because of COVID-19. With this information as a society we can go forth and better the lives of our fellow Americans.

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