No job, no home, no place to go

COVID-19 didn’t just shut down everything, it took away homes

Families are becoming homeless because of COVID, or they have lost their job during the pandemic.  In January of 2018, nearly 553,000 people were counted as homeless in the U.S., 35% were unsheltered 65% were sheltered according to a study called “The State of Homelessness in America” published by the White House.

At the start of the pandemic, researchers estimated that at least 1,700 of the nation’s homeless people could eventually die of COVID-19. 

Many are calling this a “crisis within a crisis.”

An lead attendant Simone Searcy at the Interfaith Shelter in Jackson explained the outcomes of this crisis.

“The challenges at the homeless shelter are logically, physically, and emotionally,” Searcy said. “There’s a thing I always say. Grown people can be grown, and people that come to our home shelter are grown. They are completely adults. They don’t make the greatest decisions and because of that there’s sometimes consequences.”

In 2019, the number of homeless was more than 560,000 Americans and about 92,000 of that were homeless people in New York State. During COVID, the National Law Center said, “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 – nearly 56,800 people.” 

While others are getting sick, working at home, or getting unemployment, others lost their jobs and can’t pay rent or their house payments making them homeless.

For COVID, when anyone, employees, people who come in there, they have to take their temperature twice a day, mask required, wash their hands everyday. In the shelter, there’s about 35 people who come in, or sometimes 4 people who come in. There are pregnant women with children 2 years or less than a year, or elderly people 60 and up go there. Rain, or snow people are always welcomed in the shelter and off the street. 

Karen Smith who works for the Stockbridge Community Outreach said, “What I can tell you is that, due to COVID, there are mandates in place that prevent eviction, so from that perspective, homelessness should be less of a problem in relation to COVID.  I recently spoke with a landlord who was moving forward with an eviction, although he knew that eviction was not going to happen due to the virus.  However, in going through the court process, he would at least receive 90% of the rent due him.”