Covid-19 and Homelessness

Hunter Dickinson, Writer

The pandemic has been hard for everyone with the rate of cases are increasing and restrictions are getting tighter. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and its heavy restrictions have made things more difficult for the homeless population. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, as of 2019 an estimated 567,715 people experience homelessness in the US.

Despite the spread the CDC will allow shelters, churches, and other housing to remain open for service. They also have guidance and resources for the different shelters. “Continuing homeless services during community spread of COVID-19 is critical, and homeless shelters should not close or exclude people who are having symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 without a plan for where these clients can safely access services and stay.”

People have opened up to accommodate the homeless including hotels in Baltimore. Baltimore leaders realized the homeless shelters and other housing would need a place to isolate if a homeless resident tested positive or was exposed. With the lack of tourism, many hotels are struggling to push through with COVID-19. The city of Baltimore however paid $14.6M to hotels to comfortably house sick patients, vulnerable Baltimoreans like the homeless, and front-line workers. Five hotels were selected for housing including the Lord Baltimore Hotel. The budget given would cover all costs of each guest room for six months and food. The Lord Baltimore Hotel’s ballroom was converted into a communication center where health workers take calls from positive-tested patients and homeless who need a place to stay.

With talk of vaccines being tested and approved, it seems the virus is on its way to an end. Political officials and front-line workers will be the first to get the future vaccine. Many have suggested that the elderly and homeless should be given the virus next. Thankfully, for now, there are safe places and resources for the homeless to keep them protected until then.