The 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is both a health and an economic crisis across the globe. For the past two decades, the level of extreme poverty has experienced a rise worldwide. Before the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, approximately 88 million adults lived in the US under poverty line (Bargain & Ulugbek, 2020). Furthermore, the unemployment rate has experienced a rise since the beginning of the pandemic. This has been associated with the pandemic’s economic impact, forcing companies and organizations to minimize costs by reducing the workforce. As the poverty level rises, food deficiency and homelessness are increasing significantly. This paper is a research on how unemployment resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has left many homeless in the United States.
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Many studies reveal that the number of people living below the poverty line is expected to rise by significant values by the end of 2020. According to the World Bank Group (2020), this number is expected to rise further to as many as over 150 million in 2021. Individuals living on less than $1.90 per day are said to be living below the poverty line (World Bank Group, 2020). Research conducted by the World bank in 2017 had indicated that the extreme poverty level was to decrease to 7.9% this year (World Bank Group, 2020). However, due to the pandemic, this level is expected to rise significantly. The world anticipates the worst economic decline since the Great Depression as more people shift to extreme poverty. This has raised concerns about the need to develop a system that protects the vulnerable members of society. In other words, the pandemic is a reminder to government institutions on the importance of the development of effective emergency preparedness. As such, states should be ready to contain future pandemics and other disasters, such as floods, drought, and landslides.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is more intense in countries with existing records of high poverty rates. As a result, the country’s poorest population’s income growth, also known as shared prosperity, has declined (Han et al., 2020). This is an indication of the possibility of income inequality in the coming years. Although anyone can be infected by the virus regardless of gender, race, and wealth, the poor are mostly affected. This is due to the low wages imposed on them, the increased cost of healthcare, and reduced economic mobility. Apart from the low wages, unemployment is also a major concern resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Over 80% of individuals who have lost their job in 2020 are those be who were sacked to reduce the number of employees in an organization (Han et al., 2020). Therefore, the Covid-19 has made a considerable contribution to unemployment resulting to increased poverty.
Like in other countries across the world, unemployment results in poverty, leaving the victims with a strenuous budget. Global reports show that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in underemployment and unemployment (World Bank Group, 2020). The low employment period translates to a rise in the number of homeless citizens in America (Coughlin et al., 2020). Even before the entry of the virus in America, the nation has experienced an increase in the homeless for the past three years. A significant number of homeless resulted from a rise in the marginalized group. In the health crisis, more than half a million lacked shelter to screen for the virus, test, quarantine, and eve social distance (Coughlin et al., 2020). This has exposed a majority, especially the poor, to the risk of contracting the virus. However, little can be done at this time as there is still no proven vaccine that can prevent the virus. The longer the pandemic takes, the higher the rate of unemployment, resulting in increased poverty and homelessness.
In America, homelessness is a common characteristic among marginalized groups, including ethnic and racial minorities. As people suffer from homelessness, the lockdown imposed in an attempt to curb the virus means more problems. This is especially for young people who cannot afford or find a place to settle and quarantine (Moses, 2020). Another factor resulting in homelessness among the youth during the pandemic is the breakup of families, as a result of work termination, which other partners cannot persevere. Additionally, many comfortable houses in the US are not affordable to low-income earners. Apart from low wages in America, people who have lost their jobs during this pandemic are more likely to become homeless. This exposes them to the risk of contracting the virus.
The Covid-19 has been viewed as an economic problem due to the homelessness resulting from low wages and lack of affordable housing facilities. The major cause of homelessness among the youths in America can be linked to lack of family support, the inexistence of an emergency system, and less housing options. Limited housing facilities act as barriers to acquiring accommodation. Strong and effective protection systems should be embraced to prevent people from falling into poverty in cases of a pandemic or other crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic’s impact socially and economically is an indication of global unpreparedness for such occurrences.
Bargain, O., & Ulugbek, A. (2020). Poverty and Covid-19 in developing countries. Bordeaux University. Web.
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Coughlin, C. G., Sandel, M., & Stewart, A. M. (2020). Homelessness, children, and COVID-19: A looming crisis. Pediatrics, 146(2). Web.
Han, J., Meyer, B. D., & Sullivan, J. X. (2020). Income and poverty in the covid-19 pandemic. Web.
Moses, J. (2020). Covid-19 and the State of homelessness. National Alliance to end Homelessness. Web.
World Bank Group. (2020). COVID-19 to add as many as 150 million extreme poor by 2021. Web.