Homelessness During the Pandemic

A comic strip illustrates the humans behind remarkable resilience in the face of incredible risks.

May 10, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Coronavirus and Homelessness

Robert P. Alvarez / Shutterstock

A comic strip, with reporting by Amber Cortes and illustrations by Carl Nelson, provides a rare kind of access to the human stories of homelessness during the pandemic. The comic focuses on the work of a group of people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic in Portland, Oregon, detailing the steps they took to reduce risks during the pandemic in the face of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus in addition to new levels of economic and food insecurity.

The headline of the story I about how the pandemic exacerbated the pandemic, but much of the story focuses on the actions taken by members of the Portland homeless community to ensure their own safety and health. The effort constantly evolved as CDC recommendations shifted and obvious concerns dictated the need for change (e.g., "It was clearly a bad idea in a pandemic to be pushing shelters").

While the comic acknowledges that the pandemic created new opportunities for a new approach to homeless support services, according to this story, it was the homeless community that came to the rescue.

Monday, May 10, 2021 in The Nib

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