Nashville Rescue Mission CEO and Real Hope host Glenn Cranfield talks to Room in the Inn Executive Director Rachel Hester and Community Development Director Melanie Barnett about the disproportionate physical and emotional impact of COVID-19 on the homeless population. In this episode, they discuss what they are currently experiencing with the homeless population during this time, the impact of lack of guidelines, the long-term effect of a pandemic on the homeless community and more.
Topics discussed include:
- Most COVID-19 protective measures unattainable for homeless population
- “Safer-at-home” not an option
- Myth of unemployed homeless
- Many have jobs
- Most are jobs we don’t want to do and are “essential”
- Impact of COVID-19 diagnosis
- All 100 positive diagnoses at NRM were asymptomatic
- Emotional toll: fear, isolation from only community, lack of family support
- “They thought it was a death sentence.” – Rachel Hester
- Disrupted services also means loss of community and stability
- Day center closed, loss of social interaction
- Overnight stays impacted
- Giving out tents for the first time ever
- Homeless population last to receive education, vaccine, resources
- They do not receive information on the disease and how to protect themselves as rapidly as we do.
- They would be the last to be considered for a respirator in the hospital.
- The complex trauma of COVID-19 and homelessness
- People experiencing homelessness live with PTSD every day on top of other traumas from past life experiences, mental illness or addiction.
- We are all experiencing the trauma of the pandemic, but it has an even greater effect on homeless people already struggling with major traumas.
- What you can do to be their voice
- Nobody listens to the homeless community. Be their voice in your everyday life.
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