Impacts of Corona Virus on Homelessness


As vaccine rollouts increase and COVID slowly winds down, the economic impacts are still felt around the country. A steep increase in unemployment and homelessness has swept the state, leaving officials with the tough task of solving this growing issue.

Since the lockdown due to Corona Virus, people’s lives have been altered in ways they’ve never imagined. Whether it be isolation from loved ones or the loss of a job, the impacts reach every single American, especially in regards to the economy. All across the country, unemployment has risen due to lack of people spending money; additionally, many small businesses have struggled to stay afloat during these challenging times.

Being that many are unemployed or simply have no need to worry about money, it’s hard for them to grasp the impacts of this pandemic. However, one tangible example of the turmoil in our country is the slight uptick of homelessness in the surrounding area. Prior to March 2020, it was rather uncommon to see a panhandler in Blue Back Square or Corbins Corner, yet a year later the situation is the opposite.

Person panhandles in West Hartford.

 A survey by the Youth & Young Adult Taskforce of the Reaching Home Campaign found that all 25 respondents, youth under 25 who may have experienced homelessness before Covid, their situation became more unstable due to the pandemic. Though this survey only accounted for Connecticut as well as a small sample size, this is the case for many all across the country.

Since 2007, homelessness itself has been declining. According to the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, it has dropped 35%; from 2019 alone, it has gone down 4%. However, since the pandemic has hit Connecticut, this progress has reverted, especially within cities where housing itself is very expensive as it is. Likewise, at the start of the lockdown, Marth 13, 2020, employment claims skyrocketed to 78, 692 compared to less than 10,000 claims prior to the lockdown according to

Mental health has a huge impact on one’s life, many people who experience homelessness, battle with many mental health issues, addiction and alcoholism. If pulling people off the street is the main goal, the Assistant Chief of West Hartford police department believes, “[we should be] focused on getting them some help through social services,” Coppinger said. “We need better statewide mental health services”.  Increasing mental health services, and rehab centers could drastically increase success after homelessness.  

Sometimes giving money only enables panhandling, “The best way, is to put it into a program,” states Coppinger. “If you want to see true benefit, enabling people will only hurt them in the long run”. 

Lee Glassman who has spent almost 30 years of his life in the coffee business was laid off from his job due to the coronavirus.  “I was laid off back in August, 2020.  I was unemployed for three months, then began my search for my new career and luckily I was able to become a licensed insurance agent,” Lee Glassman says.

A lady approaches a car in the drive-through in the act of aggressive panhandling.

  Not only is pandemic affecting jobs for our elders, but the younger generation is also affected by the pandemic.  Michael Seurattan, 18 years old, an employee at Hamilton Heights which is a retirement home, had mentioned how the employment process was definitely prolonged and how the pandemic made everything take longer.  “There’s a lot of additional screening that wasn’t there beforehand. A lot of measurements were put in place,” Michael says. 

In addition to the increase in unemployment due to the Pandemic, homelessness and panhandling have also been increasing.  Andre Espejo who is a student at Hall Highschool experienced aggressive panhandling, “I was on my way to work, and at a stop sign, there was a guy begging and asking everybody that stopped at the stop sign for money. He was begging me for 10 dollars, and I gave him like 5 bucks and he got mad because I only gave him five bucks not 10.”