COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus, has pretty much upended everyone’s lives and is forcing everyone to stay indoors.
The pandemic is also putting a strain on our ability to directly help people in need without anyone becoming infected.
In Prince William County, single adults experiencing homelessness who live in the woods have to travel to the SERVE Shelter in Manassas or the Bill Mehr Drop-in Center for the Homeless. For families, women and children they would have to go to the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center. These locations have taken the preventative steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Classes at the Bill Mehr Drop-In Center have been cancelled until the pandemic subsides. The good news is that services at these locations will continue in the face of this pandemic, but the need for helping people facing this tough spot in their lives is still there.
What can you do to help?
During this pandemic, you can help by donating money and non-perishable food items to local organizations listed at the bottom of the page, but there is one more effective thing you can do to help—advocate.
We collectively, as a community, need to advocate on behalf of people experiencing homelessness by talking to our Representatives in Congress and urging them to put forth legislation to provide more funding for permanent supportive housing, mental health services, and educational and job training opportunities for people experiencing homelessness without strings attached.
We need to urge our state legislature to change the housing policies and zoning to allow inclusive and equitable affordable housing and provide funds to organizations that are lifting people out of homelessness.
Here’s a list of organizations that help people facing homelessness in Prince William County:
The 25th Project, www.the25thproject.org
Streetlights Ministries, www.thestreetlight.org
Prince William Cooperative Council of Ministries, www.ccomcares.org
Northern Virginia Family Services, www.nvfs.org
The Good News Community Kitchen, www.tgnck.org
Action in the Community Through Service, www.actspwc.org
Feeding Friends Gainesville, www.gumchurch.com/serve/feeding-friends
Source: Column: How You Can Help Those Facing Homelessness During the Pandemic | PW Perspective