Though no one can predict the long-term effects that COVID-19 will have on the economy and homelessness, the disparate impact on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) experiencing homelessness has already been shown in cities throughout the country.
We at Hope & Hope have found an excellent study produced by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, entitled Racism, Homelessness, and COVID-19. We wanted to share just a few of the excerpts from this study.
- People of color experience homelessness at disproportionate rates.
- Households of color experience greater difficulty paying their bills when confronted with an emergency expense of only $400.
- The COVID-19 pandemic will be especially detrimental for people experiencing homelessness, as one study estimates that up to 10 percent of this community will be hospitalized due to COVID-19.
- Homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 will be twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times more likely to die than the general population.
- The higher rental and cost-burden rates among communities of color, as well as loss in wages caused by the crisis and existing wealth and income inequality, create a disproportionate economic impact on communities of color during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Existing health inequities are further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, as many people of color are forced to choose between wages and protecting their health, and have reduced access to health care should they become sick. (1)
But pulling back the curtain on these alarming statistics reveals a ray of hope. Homelessness is an issue that we can solve, if we work together.
Here are just a few ideas on how you can help.
During the pandemic, more and more people have used social media to stay connected to family, friends, and community. You can use these tools by reposting articles on how the crisis effects the BIPOC population. You can also make a difference by talking about this important issue with your communities that have gone online and simply sharing your knowledge and passion for helping the homeless in your daily interactions.
Volunteer, Donate, or Start a Fundraiser for a Shelter in Your Community
Shelters, like Home & Hope, that provide support and services to homeless families are themselves faced with acute financial uncertainties ahead and a decrease in volunteerism due to the pandemic. Additionally, stay at home orders are resulting in a higher demand for shelter beds. And workers and volunteers at these organizations are pulling long hours to make sure that those who need it have respite from the cold Winter months.
But you can make a difference. Find a homeless shelter in your community, reach out, and see what help they need. Many, Home & Hope included, are looking for food donations, cleaning supplies, or just plain cash to pay their operating expenses.
To donate food to help Home & Hope families, please visit our SignUp Genius meal volunteer page today.
There are many applications out there to create your own crowdfunding campaigns. Just a few of these ridiculously easy-to-use applications include GoFundMe, where you can start a new fundraiser in just a few simple steps and Fundly, that is easy to set up so you can start raising money right away. And of course, you can also quickly set up and launch a fundraiser on Facebook, which is the simplest of all. To do this, just visit the Help section on Facebook. You can start a fundraiser in just a few minutes and begin raising money immediately.
To donate money now, just visit Home & Hope’s donation page. Your gift will be used to help house and feed our families — and help them regain their self-sufficiency.
Reach Out to Your Elected Officials
Calling and emailing your representatives can make a huge difference. Recently, the Congressional stimulus package included over $12 billion to help homelessness and help struggling families after concerned residents, like you, and housing advocates emailed their elected officials. In order to make the most impact, check out this article from Lobbyists 4 Good.
These are trying times, but taking action to help others can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can make a true difference in the lives of families facing or experiencing homelessness.
1. Racism, Homelessness, and COVID-19, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty