As the coronavirus pandemic began to take shape, another epidemic came to light, homelessness. Even before the pandemic, homelessness was on the rise across the country. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there is an increasing number of homeless people in need of support; however, the lack of resources and volunteers to provide for them creates a continuous cycle that those being affected are unable to escape from.
This vulnerable community has increased over the past several months and, “Expected growths in the homeless population will add further strain to emergency services – services that already weren’t meeting the needs of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, years before the crisis began” (Moses 4). The problem of homelessness is not a new concept. It has always been a major complication within society; however, it has recently received new attention due to the countless people joining the expanding population. The system to serve these people was never designed to provide shelter for a quarter of a million more homeless people. This added strain has forced shelters to ration resources and gather more volunteers and supplies to help.
The coronavirus pandemic has placed emphasis on the relationship between housing and public health. As more and more people are staying in homeless shelters, they have become a petri dish for the coronavirus to spread. Additionally, “Augmenting the general dangers presented by increased positivity rates among a given population, the CDC reports that since many people experiencing homelessness are often older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may face even more severe illness due to COVID-19” (“The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic” 14).
Experts believe that those with underlying health conditions or of older age are more susceptible to contracting the virus and having more severe symptoms that could potentially lead to death. These same populations often experience homelessness at a higher rate leading to a double force of danger. People experiencing homelessness are unable to escape the inevitable exposure to the virus and are forced to suffer at the hands of a system that was not prepared to support them. The lack of sufficient healthcare resources creates a divide within society that negatively impacts the homeless population.
Homelessness is a major problem that eventually affects society as a whole. As this population continues to grow, the government is required to use their resources to assist them. This affects the economy and the government’s ability to ration tax payer dollars. Homelessness can negatively affect business in towns within high homeless populations. Additionally, it impacts the crime and safety with the community. It is beneficial, for all people, to help break the cycle of homelessness and provide assistance to relief programs.
Moses, Joy. “COVID-19 and the State of Homelessness.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, 19 May 2020. endhomelessness.org/covid-19-and-the-state-of-homelessness/.
“The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Homelessness in the United States: United Way.” United Way of the National Capital Area, 16 February 2021, unitedwaynca.org/stories/effect-pandemic-homeless-us/.