The homeless community is suffering. This isn’t new. The homeless community has been suffering since the 1870’s due to the end of the Civil War, and just 20 years before that, the world was in the Cholera pandemic. Imagine back then, having to deal with disease and how severe it was. Granted, there were vaccines but very difficult to get. Now, we can get vaccines whenever, if you have insurance and healthcare. When you get sick you never really stop and think about the people who can’t get help. It made me think, how has the homeless community dealt with Covid-19? What are shelters doing? Who is trying to get involved? Is anyone even trying to help? Who has become homeless due to Covid-19? All these questions have raced through my mind a hundred times, so I decided to investigate.
My neighbor, who works for an organization that helps the homeless community with mental health, financing, etc. Anything that can pretty much help them get back on their feet. He told me that there are vans going around with free testing and if the tests do come back positive those people are being put up in hotels. Families are also being helped so they can stay off the streets to protect the little ones and adults. They are being put in hotels as well. The hotels are being used like a shelter in a sense, considering regular shelters are very small and there is no possible way to really distance anyone.
When you think about people who are homeless, you usually think about stereotypes: drug addicts, drunks, thieves, people with no determination, but that usually is not the case. The top five reasons for homelessness are lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, mental illness and substance abuse due to the lack of needed services. These are things that are not in their control, and can’t get help for. When you see someone on the street you may ask yourself “why don’t they just get a job?” Well it really isn’t that easy. Think about it, when you go for a job interview you want to look your best and have a good resume. That is really hard to accomplish when you don’t have a place to clean up or nice clothes to wear. It is hard to have a good resume when you are always getting turned away and have nothing to put on it. Most of the time, a lot of people can’t get a job, because the company wants to uphold an image and isn’t willing to give someone a chance. Especially now it is hard to even get an interview during a global pandemic.
Always look at the bigger picture and really, as the saying goes, never judge a book by it’s cover. People just like to assume things, and listen to what other people are saying and never make an assumption or opinion based on what they know. To understand your community you have to ask questions, you have to use empathy and reasoning. If you can’t do that, then how will you ever learn? How will you grow as an individual? Start opening your eyes to the world around you.