Many people within North Carolina have been receiving stimulus checks and getting vaccinated for Covid-19. However, 14 percent of the state’s population are homeless and it is a wonder to think of the types of health coverage and opportunities being provided to them through shelters and other facilities.
Linda Lingle, who was the sixth governor of Hawaii once said, “We have come dangerously close to accepting homelessness as a problem that we just can’t solve.”
According to Interactive Resource Center, more than 900 people go to sleep homeless in shelters, under bridges, in the woods or in cars in Greensboro, NC. Many of these people that are in shelters are having a hard time abiding by the safety guidelines due to overcrowding.
Following the progression of the pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations to prevent the spread of Covid-19 including those facing homelessness. The guidelines recognize the overcrowding in shelters and suggest that they avoid crowded public settings and transportation.
With overcrowding in facilities, the spread of COVID is more prone to occur, which means more access to resources is required to protect these individuals and the essential workers overseeing them.
As the third stimulus check rolls out, many, people have turned to social media to spread the message that homeless people may be eligible to receive the third stimulus.
The post was initiated from Twitter by Hamdia Ahmed and has been circulating on various platforms. It states, “If you are homeless, you can go to a tax return office where they will file something called EIP return. They will put the money on a debit card after.”
Shelters surrounding the Greensboro area include Weaver House Night Shelter, Open Door Ministries Men’s Shelter, Family Promise Day Center and Christians United Outreach Center.
These centers offer additional services to residents such as health clinics, drug and rehab facilities and help clients attain proper identification and look for jobs.
According to the CDC, “People who are experiencing homelessness may have difficulty accessing medical services in traditional settings, such as a clinic or pharmacy. Therefore, state and local vaccine distribution plans should include strategies to bring vaccines to people experiencing homelessness, including homeless service sites like shelters, day programs, or food service locations.”
Many organizations within the Greensboro area focus on homelessness and ending poverty within the area. These organizations have been finding new and innovative ways to raise awareness and profit to help those who face homelessness during the pandemic.
Amongst these organizations is the United Way of Greater Greensboro, which helps to end the cycle of poverty by partnering with organizations and providing funding to them. Their strategic partners are chosen based on their ability to reduce poverty and exhibit positive outcomes.
WFNY News highlighted the organization’s “Handbags to End Poverty” event, which is their annual fundraising event led by United Women to auction purses and use the proceeds to help those in need.
The virtual event allowed participants to bid on purses and purchase raffle tickets for the chance to win packages that ranged from spa trips to weekend getaways at beachfront homes.
Similar to the mission of United Way of Greater Greensboro, student-led organizations like Traveling Hope, created by Ashleigh Jenkins and myself, seek to provide goodie bags to those who face homelessness in Greensboro and surrounding areas.
Traveling Hope started as a kitchen conversation, where we discussed the unfortunate circumstances of homelessness, especially during the pandemic. After exchanging ideas, we realized that the best way to contribute to helping those in need would be to create packages with items that might help those who are forced to stand on corners.
It is so often that we see people standing on medians and the side of the road asking for a helping hand and money to provide them their next meal or other necessities. Traveling Hope bags are kept in cars of friends and family and are passed out to those in need as we see them.
The organization was started in December of 2020 and the bags were initially filled with items suited for the season such as gloves, socks, bread, crackers, fruit snacks, water and masks.
Moving forward, Traveling Hope would like to expand by partnering with homeless shelters that can donate the bags, put special messages within each bag as well as include some money to provide a little financial relief.
Traveling Hope is fueled by donations and is a small way to support the poverty and homelessness within our community.
There are far too many homeless for the number of resources we have and it should never be an acceptable issue. So, ask yourself how can you help your community?
If you would like to donate to Traveling Hope, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/traveling-hope?member=8387104&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=sms&utm_source=customer