MDHI Statement on COVID-19
MDHI statement on COVID-19
COVID-19 is a historical challenge facing the United States. Among the most at risk in our nation are the individuals experiencing homelessness across our country. Under normal circumstances not having a safe, stable place to call home is frightening. Under the current circumstances, it is absolutely terrifying. Individuals experiencing homelessness cannot follow the majority of the guidance currently available to stem exposure and ensure personal safety. Unlike those of us that are housed, they do not have a place to isolate. There are not facilities for them to wash their hands regularly nor available bathrooms in many cases. There is no access to critical supplies such as sanitizers or approved cleaners. Compounding this issue is the number of these individuals that are medically compromised. This places them at even higher risk of life-threatening complications from COVID-19. Additionally, many of the services on which these individuals rely for food, medical access, and other basic human necessities are forced to close their doors in the face of this outbreak.
During times like this, it is easy to feel helpless and uncertain on what can be done. However, times like these are also opportunities to unite as a community and come together in support of our region's most vulnerable. There are shining examples of communities uniting, putting aside political differences, and taking extraordinary steps to protect those without a safe place to go.
The economic impact for those already struggling with Denver's housing costs could prove catastrophic. Immediate action should be taken to protect workers disproportionately affected by COVID-19. For example, cities should adopt similar policies to those in Seattle, Baltimore, Miami-Dade County, and San Jose which are issuing emergency orders to prevent residential evictions during the outbreak.
Cities and states across the US are also considering measures such as suspending any and all sweeps, waiving fees at parking meters so that individuals may park safely overnight, providing assistance for families in need of food assistance for students no longer attending classes, and immediate funding for emergency sanitation and cleaning supplies. Many municipalities are providing sanitation centers at either sanctioned or unsanctioned encampments. This is a critical step in assuring the safety our entire community and must be taken seriously. Those experiencing homelessness that exhibit any symptoms must have access to testing, medical treatment, as well as a safe place to remain in isolation until test results are finalized and/or their quarantine period is completed.
As a member of this community, the time to take action is now. Contact your elected officials and demand that swift action be taken for measures like the ones list above.
Additionally, here are a list of ways you can help in the Denver area and the steps you can take:
1. VOLUNTEER - Many of the local shelters and providers rely upon the good will of volunteers. However, many volunteers are unable to participate in their normal activities due to their age, health, or other factors that put them at risk. But, there is still a critical need for volunteers. Visit here to see a list of organizations that serve our unhoused neighbors in Denver where you can make a huge impact.
2. DONATE - If you are unable to volunteer, then perhaps you can help provide many of the much-needed resources our partner organizations are requesting. Here are some direct ways to assist:
- The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has set up a COVID-19 wishlist on Amazon to ensure they are able to continue serving clients
- Healthy volunteers can serve at Volunteer of America's Mission here
- Denver Rescue Mission is seeking food at their Ministry Outreach Center or financial donations. Learn how to donate here.
- Donate to Denver Public Schools' Food Security Fund
- Consider giving blood
Continue being part of the conversation by following MDHI and these other organizations on Facebook or Twitter. There, we will continue posting meaningful ways for you to make an impact and get involved!