The Pandemic Brings Homeless Spotlight into Sharp Focus
The homeless have been an ongoing conversation in our society for years. Those without financial means, mental capacity in many cases to care for themselves without assistance, and end up on the streets in our country is a tough conversation getting harder during this pandemic. Many will argue that they don’t deserve help as they put themselves in this plight, or help provided them will go to the wrong things. The focus of those conversations focused on the incorrect question, which is the way they are homeless. Yes, that also needs to be answered to help prevent new cases from arising. Unfortunately, there are more immediate questions that need addressing. This pandemic has taught us all one valuable lesson through a year of hard isolation, loss of jobs, family, community due to this pandemic. Today, maybe we all need to take a pause and consider how. How do we all help each other as a community?
Homelessness is a real problem, and the pandemic just helped bring it even further to the forefront. Have you driven down streets here in Florida, and now with businesses closed, see these faces that might have been less visible in a crowd before this all happened? With businesses shut, what little help those that were food insecure and homeless before this started might have been able to garner, is gone. Additionally, it’s not just the traditional mentally ill, traumatized, and other sad stories that are finding a home no longer a given. The pandemic has drastically shifted our world here in tourist-driven, Florida, where many could work in restaurants, resorts, and other occupations to help make ends meet. Now with those jobs closed for a good portion of the year and operating in limited capacity now, many are finding the ability to keep a roof over their heads diminishing.
If you are fortunate to have enough, there is something you must consider. Does the why matter or just the how when thinking of those less fortunate? The Blessing Bags Project is one such nonprofit amongst a host of them here on the Suncoast, helping solve this crisis in meaningful ways. Handing out hand sanitizer to help prevent infection amongst the homeless, just like the rest of us in this COVID-19 infected world. They are gathering coats to give to those who won’t be able to afford them. This community of volunteers is spreading Christmas cheer to families that would not have a holiday of any size without support. Groups provide warm meals and companionship to those who might otherwise not be in a position to obtain such for themselves. Finally, they are humanizing, listening, and engaging the homeless in our hometowns to see if they can advocate, point them toward resources and help be just one voice helping to solve this ever-growing concern.
As we move toward the end of a tough 2020 for all of us and the homeless numbers in this country soar, let us consider how. How can you help, just a little? Do you have meaningful items that could be donated, or maybe your company can do a holiday drive of some sort, even virtually? Find the organization that is on the front lines that you align with most and help make a small dent in the growing concern that the pandemic with loss of life, jobs, and security has wrought on a new group of homeless. If we all did one little thing, can you imagine the impact that would have?
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