Homeless During A Pandemic

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By Michelle Lyons

By Michelle Lyons, IT Columnist

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics show that homelessness in Los Angeles County has risen by up to 16%.

Government regulations have caused most of the homelessness during this pandemic. Not only did restrictions increase unemployment which increased homelessness, but restrictions limited the capacities of homeless shelters. The Salvation Armies, The Rescue Missions and other shelters have not been taking in new clients because of social distancing guidelines; therefore, many more people are living on the streets.

According to the Long Beach Rescue Mission, “There has also been an increase in women homelessness because domestic violence has increased over the last 9 months.”

One of these women is Candace Garnett. She is 30 years old and she has been living out of her car for the past 7 months after having a fight with her aunt.

Garnett has been suffering from anger management issues and depression for the past four years because Child Services took her one-year-old son (who is now 5 years old).

“Mother is the name of God in the lips and hearts of little children. What they did to me was not right. I was suffering from postpartum and needed help, but instead of helping me they made me more depressed and angrier by taking my son,” she said.

Garnett was homeless one other time in her life in 2009. She said homelessness during Covid-19 is much different.

“Homelessness during Covid is much worst. It sucks being homeless now. Ten years ago, I was homeless, but not a bum. Unfortunately, since everything is closed I cannot even shower. I have not showered in over a week. Last time when I was homeless I could at least shower at a gym or a homeless shelter. Now, all the shelters are full, and all the gyms are closed. It feels like everything is shut down,” she said.

Garnett has been using her time to focus less on herself and more on others. She has been volunteering at the YWCA. 

“Being at the YWCA makes me feel like I am not alone. They have been so helpful, and I am grateful. I just want to get myself together so I can get my son back, but it’s really hard and Covid has made it harder.”

The Long Beach Rescue Mission (LBRM) has a women’s house that houses women like Garnett, but presently, they are at limited-capacity because of the social distancing guidelines.

“It makes you think about the trade-off of shutting down the entire city. Was it worth it if homelessness increased by 16%, hundreds of businesses filed bankruptcy and depression and anxiety increased by millions? It will take years for us to recover from this pandemic. I don’t know the statistics, but I can’t help to think if our politicians had to miss paychecks or be homeless for the past 9 months if they would have handled this differently,” said Garnett.

“It’s scary as heck sleeping in my car and being a woman. But I am grateful for my car because I see so many people sleeping on the street. Hopefully, one of the Rescue Missions will be able to take me in soon,” said Garnett.

If you are interested in donating to Candace Garnett, you can paypal or cashapp her integralexuberance@gmail.com. 

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