Giving Compass’ Take:
• Cailin Crowe illustrates some of the challenges around COVID-19 and homelessness, focusing on our inability to record accurate counts.
• What are some ways you can help homeless populations safely and effectively?
Counting people experiencing homelessness for the census has historically been a major challenge. Those obstacles are poised to become even greater due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Service-based enumeration, a three-day operation that involves counting people in-person at places like soup kitchens and encampments, is one of the primary ways that cities and census workers count homeless populations. The enumeration was originally scheduled to begin March 30, but has been delayed until April 29.
With many tactics for counting people experiencing homelessness in flux from the coronavirus, compounded by an exacerbated sense of fear among homeless populations, experts caution that achieving an accurate count will be difficult this year.
“Counting the homeless is an incredibly difficult job under the best of circumstances,” Jennifer Mosley, associate professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, told Smart Cities Dive. “These circumstances make it immeasurably worse.”
The global outbreak of COVID-19 is predicted to disproportionately affect people experiencing homelessness. In fact, homeless populations are twice as likely to be hospitalized during the pandemic, up to four times as likely to require critical care and up to three times as likely to die compared to the general public, according to a recent report from researchers at University of Pennsylvania, University of California Los Angeles and Boston University.
The risks of COVID-19 incentivize people experiencing homelessness to stay away from group areas, which can include shelters or encampments, according to Mosley.
An undercount also creates major implications for the billions of dollars that fund various city services assisting homeless groups.
Despite the high stakes, the means for counting people experiencing homelessness — even before this unprecedented pandemic — are not sufficient.
Read the full article about COVID-19 and homelessness by Cailin Crowe at Smart Cities Dive.
North America is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are looking for opportunities to learn and connect with others interested in the topic of COVID-19, take a look at these events, galas, conferences and volunteering opportunities aggregated by Giving Compass.
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for COVID-19, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to COVID-19.