The COVID-19 pandemic has likely substantially compounded hardships for people experiencing homelessness. In addition to their already heightened health risks, shelter-in-place orders and recommended physical distancing have constrained available services. Though people experiencing homelessness have surely also been impacted economically, the extent of these impacts remains unclear. This study documents self-reported disease and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic for people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento, California. The study analyzes survey data from 198 people experiencing homelessness, collected in collaboration with a homelessness services agency in October 2020. The article contextualizes these data with comparisons to Sacramento’s point-in-time survey of homelessness and a sample of low-income housed Californians. The results suggest relatively limited exposure to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. Income and employment losses were more common, but still less pronounced for people experiencing homelessness than for low-income housed Californians. However, these lower economic losses mainly reflect enduring deprivation prior to the pandemic. People experiencing homelessness also received stimulus funds in the spring of 2020 at much lower rates than low-income housed Californians. Overall, the study adds to an emerging empirical literature on the diverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for people experiencing homelessness.
Self-reported impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento, California
Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness