Smith Says COVID-19 Has Exacerbated Disparities in Housing, Employment and Health Outcomes

WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/8/20]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) is urging Senate and House leaders to pay attention to the rapidly growing crisis of unsheltered homelessness that is hitting people of color hardest, and to provide housing assistance and funding for social services in future coronavirus relief packages. 

"The unprecedented public health and economic crisis has exacerbated these existing disparities in housing, employment, and health outcomes. This summer, we have seen COVID-19 hit hardest communities of color and those without a safe place to call home," Sen. Smith wrote to leadership. "In the Twin Cities, Indigenous, Black, and Brown individuals were far more likely to experience a job loss due to COVID-19. While the assistance provided through the CARES Act helped temporarily mitigate the impact of this rise in unemployment and homelessness, the pandemic has contributed to growing housing instability in these same communities. In one encampment in Minneapolis, for example, nearly forty five percent of residents identified as Native American."

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Smith said that the federal government must provide state and local leaders and organizations with the resources they need to address the growing homelessness problem across the country. She said the problem is becoming more urgent as winter approaches and temperatures drop. 

Supporting people who are experiencing homelessness during the pandemic is a priority for Sen. Smith. In April, she led a Senate push to ensure the Trump Administration is taking the steps necessary to make certain that people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota and across the country receive coronavirus relief payments.

You can read a copy of the letter here

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