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Public Affairs

"In 15 years, I've never seen it so bad": homelessness in the time of COVID-19

Copyright Deb Holman. Used with permission.

There aren't a lot of benefits to being homeless, but Deb Holman says right now, folks are probably safer outside in tents than inside in a shelter.

The good news is that COVID-9 is not taking a toll on people without homes here in the Northland. Street outreach worker Deb Holman of CHUM and HDC says they're offering folks masks and hand sanitizer and taking temperatures as much as they can, and many of what's called "unsheltered homeless" are already staying away from other people.

But the bad news is, the annual Point in Time survey conducted by St. Louis County found an 18% increase in homelessness and more than 100 additional people reporting as "unsheltered" over the previous year.  And when the federal moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent expires Friday, those numbers could start to creep up even more.

But more than that, says Deb Holman, "it's a community problem.  It's not just CHUM's problem - it's a community problem."

People interesting in making contributions of masks, hand santizer, tents and sleeping bags, in addition to financial donations, can find more information here.

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