Photo essay by O’Shovah, a Filipinx comrade in Long Beach.
There is an issue that is being neglected, a homeless issue. It is an issue that has long been present before this pandemic. While the current situation is to stay at home, many of the homeless people living in the city do not have the privilege to “stay at home.” Whether it be the cold gray pavement or a metallic bus bench to sleep or rest, it cannot be denied that they are the unfortunate victims of this COVID-19 pandemic.
This is especially due to the fact that the United States, built on stolen land, did not guarantee its people the right to housing. Although many cities’ attempts at addressing the “Homeless Question” have mitigated the situation by recommissioning parks as ad hoc homeless shelters, it is not enough. Many more of the homeless are still in danger of exposure and the lack of effort by politicians have proven ineffective.
Mainstream media has been lacking in covering the issue that homeless people face. There are more than eighteen thousand homeless people attempting to take shelter and surviving, and the situation is critical in ensuring that they’re not forgotten in this human right conversation.
The threat that this virus has posed to the homeless is extreme — many of whom are weak and frail due to the harsh conditions of living in squalor each night. Luckily with the support of many local organizers in the States as well as my city, Long beach, have helped reach out to the homeless and provided them with food, supplies and temporary shelter as the cases of homelessness ramp up in the States.
Whether or not the city would be willing to expand these shelters to libraries or other parks is still ongoing. But as it stands on the precipice if the homeless question is taken care of, the situation looking forward may very well deteriorate as more and more become exposed to this epidemic.