Coronavirus Hasn’t Devastated the Homeless as Many Feared

“Before you ignore another homeless person on the street, just remember that that could be someone’s father or someone’s mother and they have a story.”  – Syesha Mercado, American singer, songwriter, actress, and model

Six months after the U.S. began shutting down due to Covid19, the data with regards to homeless outbreak concerns has now become available. If you google news articles from Spring 2020, you’ll find that most major cities across the country were scrambling at that time to manage the oversight of homeless populations in order to reduce exposure and spreading of the coronavirus. Everyone was apprehensive about the potential devastation in those populations because of the lack of consistent sanitary conditions and close contact lifestyles within those communities.

A San Francisco, CA news station (WTTW) released an article in August titled “Coronavirus Hasn’t Devastated the Homeless as Many Feared.”  It provides Covid19 data from across the nation in relation to homeless sickness and death tolls. The article states that “the rates at which homeless people have tested positive for COVID-19 are all over the place, says Barbara DiPietro, senior policy director for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, which is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the issue…[and that] this is a wildly variant, moving target depending on who and how and when you test.”

The overall data, however, shows that the percentage of homeless who have tested positive or died is significantly lower than expected based on the overall number of homeless people within that community.  For example, “In King County, which includes Seattle, more than 400 of an estimated 12,000 homeless residents have been diagnosed. In Los Angeles County, more than 1,200 of an estimated 66,000 homeless people have been diagnosed.”

Even though that data is good news, there are still significant challenges for the homeless population which are symptomatic of our “new normal” in a Covid19 world.  Dr. Barry Zevin, medical director of the San Francisco public health department’s street medicine program, sees how public closures are causing homeless people have trouble finding food and water, difficulty accessing restrooms, and a significant reduction in receiving cash from neighborhood folks who are spending less time in public places. Those issues have caused an increase of more than double the usual number of homeless deaths in San Francisco within a two-month period.

City officials across the nation are still grappling with how to move forward in every aspect of their communities including public gatherings, social distancing, masks, local business requirements, etc. Bouncing back from the shut-down is not an easy task, as the danger around Covid19 is certainly not over just yet.

But we, at Sheltering Grace, continue to do what we can to serve homeless mothers and babies in our community.  We welcome donations to provide resources for them. Please contact us at 678-337-7858 to learn how you can help. Each mother and baby will be truly grateful for your kindness.

Sheltering Grace Ministry, Ltd. is a 501(c)3 Ltd. non-profit ministry. We resolve the initial crisis of homelessness by providing mothers with a safe place to live during pregnancy. We also equip them with the tools they need to improve decision-making, enhance employment options, and increase family income to act responsibly as the head of their household. All of our services develop their self-reliance to progress to permanent independent living. Please join us in renewing and rebuilding the lives of these brave women – #Be1of5000.

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