The COVID-19 pandemic stresses the working poor and the homeless


If you work in homeless services long enough, you lose clients outside. But each one is a painful tragedy.

Last week, we lost a young unsheltered mother. The week before another man was struck and killed by a car. A month before, our outreach team found a woman in a state of distress and, with Salem police, convinced her to go to the hospital, where they removed more than 200 maggots from an open wound. She survived. Less than a year ago, we had a baby born on the sidewalk, which was a monumental public failure of our homeless systems in Salem.

Salem has more than 1,200 citizens living in dangerous unsheltered conditions. If the Legislature does not act to extend the statewide eviction moratorium through April, an extra 120 days to make sure the vaccine is fully deployed, there will be others. 


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