Even at the best of times, being homeless and jobless can be the most difficult situation, one may face in their lifetime, however, the risks and mental impact are said to be worse now more than ever before. There are currently over 500,000 people experiencing homelessness in America, and shelters are facing difficulties as they fill quicker than ever before.
Medical researchers say those who are currently homeless across the United States have a double vulnerability when it comes to Covid-19. They are more susceptible to contracting the virus because of the cramped living conditions, the sharing of utensils, and the lack of hand-washing stations on the streets. Whilst many of us have a lifestyle worlds away from the suffering so many have to face, it begs the question of what is life really like to be homeless whilst a deadly virus pans over the nation.
The New York Times interviewed Tracy Semrow, a previous school psychologist who was earning a six-figure salary learned two years ago that she had a degenerative connective tissue disorder, and despite once being very comfortable with money, medical costs meant that she has to spend her savings. She has been living in a bunk bed as a part of Bob McElroy charity ‘Alpha Project’, but she is frequently sick and struggles to get out of bed, stating that her immune system had gone ‘haywire’. Helen Chu, an infectious disease specialist, has said that ‘we should be very worried’ in regards to the number of homeless people catching and spreading Covid-19. This is due to a lack of resources when it comes to preventing and curing.
More awareness needs to be raised about this issue. “This pandemic is so unprecedented that it needs a federal-level response,” said Margot Kushel, a doctor and director of the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, which focuses on homelessness in older adults. “We need resources to allow state and local health departments and homeless service organizations to execute their plans immediately.”
If you have the capability to help out, visit https://endhomelessness.org and read their standpoint on corona amongst the homeless.