Initiatives To Help The Homeless Amid The Pandemic

Akshata Tiwari, Copy Editor

Homelessness has been a large issue for several decades. The outbreak of COVID worsened issues, as worries about safety and exposure in shelters began to limit the help these homeless people received. Homelessness ballooned as the pandemic progressed and those began to experience economic crises. While those without homes continued to increase, Governor Gavin Newsom took action to secure funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Cities have benefited from this movement, as they took further steps to lessen the impact the pandemic has on the homeless population. Along with cities, schools have also started initiatives to aid those in need.

For instance, Long Beach has been actively involved in Although the city of Long Beach has closed some facilities, people are working diligently to provide aid to those on the streets. Just some examples are the distribution of sanitation kits to the homeless and the installation of sanitizers and soap dispensers in public bathrooms. The city has also agreed to pay for the cost of quarantine in case any symptoms are displayed. 

Similarly, initiatives around Los Angeles have begun to positively impact the homeless population. Some cities in LA County have been addressing the issue by installing portable bathrooms and other facilities around homeless encampment shelters. Medical professionals have been reaching out to these communities to spread safety habits and awareness of COVID-19. LA County itself has made progress on its program “Project Roomkey,” in which several people off the streets are housed in unoccupied hotel rooms. This large-scale program directly works with FEMA to manage the funding. 

While cities are taking large initiatives, students at schools are also making a difference. The ANHS School On Wheels Club is currently fundraising to hold a supply drive for homeless students in Aliso Viejo. They aim to provide the youth with educational supplies to continue their learning experience. This club has partaken in several activities during the pandemic, such as contacting organizations to give the youth gifts during the holidays and making motivational cards.

As the pandemic continues, it is important to note that any movement, state-wide or local, can influence the lives of several underserved people.