|Social distancing. Self-quarantine. Stay home.|
These are the new mandates that we are hearing every day from public officials.
But what if you live in a situation where you can’t stay 6 feet from someone else, where you can’t self-quarantine, and where you can’t stay home?
That is the current reality for New Hampshire’s homeless population.
Have you ever toured a homeless shelter? They are just rooms crowded with bunk beds. There are no safe places to quarantine.
Now imagine that you work at a homeless shelter. Are you receiving the protective gear you need? Who is in charge of helping you figure out a viable plan?
And what about the impact on the general public? As we have learned, not caring for one affects us all.
We need action right away. We need a statewide strategy to identify: 1) Spaces (dorms, hotels, motels); 2) Staff (direct care, security); 3) Food (volunteer-run soup kitchens are shutting down); and 4) Supplies (masks, gowns, gloves and tents for encampments).
Local shelter providers have drafted plans in an effort to keep the populations they serve safe, however, on their own, they have not been able to implement them. As we have seen in other states, we need a statewide strategy and comprehensive system to make sure we protect the homeless and those who serve them.
We are only as strong as the weakest among us. We need a statewide plan for NH’s homeless today.