This is what has been broadcasted all over the news and social media. For many of us that is an easy task. We have a good roof over our heads and a strong foundation underneath our feet. But for others, the stay at home order can be an unsafe or unrealistic task. As we continue to follow social distance regulations, let’s reflect on how we can understand other’s positions and how we can help (even if it is from the couch).
As more relief has been flowing in, housing assistance has been a topic of conversation. Through the CARES Act, there has been an allocated $12 billion in funding for HUD programs which is divided into specific program areas.
Though- funding takes time to flow through the systems, and people are still at risk. People who suffer homelessness are at a higher risk of obtaining coronavirus and getting sick. They have less access to follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines such as washing hands, wearing a mask, access to healthcare, or staying six feet apart from others. People who are homeless and contract coronavirus are twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die than others in the general public. Let those numbers soak in.
A large part of our population is struggling. With the unemployment rate at a new high, more Americans are living on savings and wondering how they will pay for rent or their mortgage. For people who have been living paycheck to paycheck before the coronavirus, this fear is more intense. If one family member were to get sick or if there was another unexpected cost/problem, the probability of loss is a lot higher. Of HOME, Inc. clients, 50% of them spent more than half their income on rent in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Now with fewer jobs available and higher risks, the coronavirus is creating stress and financial worry for many renters and homeowners.
There have been many responses by different governments of how they respond to the homeless population. Some cities, such as San Fransisco, are leasing hotel rooms for people who need a safe place to shelter in place. Others, like the state of Connecticut, are creating shelters.
There are many ways to help people who are homeless or suffering an additional burden because of coronavirus. Donations to food banks, donations of masks and other personal protection equipment cleaning supplies, and other household items are needed in the Des Moines Community.
HOME, Inc. continues to provide services remotely. We are talking to many tenants and landlords communicating new laws and what they can do during this time. We are here for the Des Moines people and will continue to be.
How the CARES Act supports housing: https://nlihc.org/resource/congressional-leaders-agree-coronavirus-response-package-funding-homelessness-and-housing
FAQ Homelessness and Coronavirus: https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/FAQs_Coronavirus-Homelessness.pdf
Affordable Housing and Coronavirus: https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2020/5/14/21257807/as-covid-19-continues-its-economic-upheaval-affordable-housing-is-becoming-scarce