We are now a year into the pandemic, with over a half-million Americans who have passed away due to the disease. At the start of March 2020, while the world was beginning to see the early stages of the pandemic, business was proceeding pretty much as usual. The NBA playoffs were in full swing and you could watch the games at a sports bar. The presidential primary season was in full swing. And then, the virus came.
A year later, we are still stuck in limbo, we have lost far too many friends and loved ones, we have lost far too many jobs, we have asked far too much of our essential workers, our working parents, and our marginalized community members. Yet we have also seen the power of community organizing, mutual aid, solidarity, and our health care workers and teachers.
The next three months are a critical phase in the pandemic, and PFund is committed to helping communicate the most accurate information to our communities and audiences. We understand that there’s been a ton of mis- and dis-information circulating about the pandemic and topics such as vaccines, testing, and how we can keep ourselves and one another safe.
Twice a month through the end of June, PFund will create and share blog posts covering these important topics, as well as hosting events and sharing content on social media. We’ll be introducing some new and creative ways to help keep you informed not only about the nuts and bolts of how to stay safe from COVID-19, but also vaccine development and safety, how COVID-19 is impacting the broader community, and what queer history can teach us about the pandemic. We’re also interested in hearing any questions you have about COVID-19; send us an email at [email protected] or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
Homelessness and Covid-19
America was already dealing with an affordable housing crisis prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic–the homelessness figures just prior to the pandemic were the worst the country had seen in 20 years. The arrival of the coronavirus has only made the situation much worse across the country. The economic depression caused by the global lockdowns last spring meant that many of our neighbors could no longer afford to pay their rent or mortgage. While eviction moratoriums have kept many people housed during the pandemic, nearly 20% of renters are behind on payments–that’s ten million Americans who could become housing insecure or homeless.
Over the past year, people experiencing homelessness had to not only contend with challenges related to being homeless, but also with the risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease when seeking resources such as emergency shelter, winter warming facilities, or healthcare. With vaccines being rolled out, it may be tempting to assume that the homelessness epidemic will abate along with the pandemic, but a recent study by the Economic Roundtable found that the economic effects of Covid-19 are expected to increase homelessness by 49% in this country, with the rate of homelessness expected to peak in 2023.
Access to safe and affordable housing has long been an issue that has impacted the queer community and will continue to be post-Covid. What kind of approaches will we need as a community to make housing more accessible? How can we support our unhoused neighbors moving forward? And what kind of resources should government and nonprofits be providing?
PFund will be hosting an event on Facebook live on March 31 to further explore this issue. Please join us.
The Latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota
Vaccines: The Minnesota Department of Health has launched an online tool to help you find out when, where, and how to get your COVID-19 vaccine. Click here or call 833-431-2053 to sign up. All Minnesotans 18 years of age and older should sign up, no matter their current vaccine eligibility status–the vaccine connector will let you know when doses are available.
Testing: As kids return to school, sports, and other extracurricular activities, the Minnesota Department of Health is strongly encouraging families to get tested for COVID-19. Getting tested every two weeks through the end of the school year will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open. Visit a community testing site, order an at-home test kit, or get tested through your regular health care provider. All options are quick, easy, and free to you. Visit mn.gov/covid19 or contact your health care provider to schedule an appointment.
COVID-19 Community Coordinators: Call a COVID-19 Community Coordinator if you need support accessing testing, vaccination, or other COVID-19 resources related to housing, food support, health care and mental health, employment, and many other needs. Click here to search for a COVID Coordinator by cultural community, language, or county (or reference attached flyers). Languages spoken by CCCs include Spanish, Somali, Hmong, Karen, Arabic, Swahili, English, Burmese, Karen, Karenni, Thai, Vietnamese, Amharic, French, Oromo, and Tigrigna.
Regional Information Links (IA, ND, SD, WI)