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COVID-19 related restrictions, limitations, and quarantines spread across the United States of America at the beginning of 2020, making many people lose jobs. The issue concerned multiple layers of the population, making them suffer from financial losses, moving places, and changing their lifestyle. Miscellaneous families had to experience homelessness due to a lack of finances to maintain themselves (COVID-19 is ‘a crisis, 2020). Thousands of people who became unsheltered had no choice but to live outside during the pandemic growth (Willis & Molina, 2019; Tsai & Wilson, 2020). The current pandemic of the respiratory disease named COVID-19 does not create a massive risk to all the society layers. The point is that people who experience homelessness may be vulnerable to infection due to transmission risks in their traditional settings. It implies that they do not follow hygiene procedures, posing a greater chance of catching a disease. Thus, social distance is not kept, which let the virus spread faster and infect more people.
People experiencing homelessness are vulnerable to COVID-19 due to the risk of transmission. There were numerous severe problems homeless people encountered. Overcrowded shelters and camps, sleeping outdoors, and unstable housing make it difficult to participate in activities that can help prevent illnesses (COVID-19 is ‘a crisis, 2020). They did not have access to nutritious food, nor did they sleep well at night. The stress took over their lives as they could do nothing but stay at those congregate settings (Kranke te al., 2020). In general, their daily life was disrupted, and it was impossible to imagine how to get back to normal.
Epidemiological studies demonstrated a high prevalence of multiple diseases both contagious and chronic. There is evidence that homeless people have unusually large spikes in hospital admissions during pandemic flu seasons, indicating vulnerability to viral respiratory infections (COVID-19 is ‘a crisis, 2020). The risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in homeless shelters has prompted some interventions aimed at reducing the risk of transmission, but the implications to date and potential future consequences are unclear.
What is more, the indigenous population of the United States can be positively affected by the pandemic. Indigenous people, native Indian tribes, in particular, live all over America and constitute around 574 federally recognized units (Tsai & Wilson, 2020). Having their own perspectives on self-preservation, they tend to live in large groups, often neglecting other people’s space. Moreover, most of them suffer from a lack of financial and social support; therefore, they cannot function normally within society.
COVID-19 became a worldwide issue threatening the entire globe’s population. When this is combined with previous worrying trends, there is a risk of increasing the number of people experiencing homelessness. In fact, homelessness has been an upward trend in the U.S. since 2016 and has grown by up to 22% (Willis & Molina, 2019). “At least 151,000 people are homeless in California, 75% of whom do not live in shelters — the largest proportion of homeless people in the country — and about a quarter of them are believed to experience chronic homelessness” (California Health Care Foundation, n. d.). This information is burdened by the fact that Americans spent more than half of their income on housing. Therefore, homelessness is a quite concerning issue, especially that the spread of coronavirus props it.
The bill titled Emergency Family Stabilization Act was proposed on June 9, 2020, by Lisa Murkowski, the Senior Senator for Alaska. According to Murkowski (2020), “this bill is in the first stage of the legislative process (para. 2). It should be reviewed by the committee prior it is sent to the House or Senate as an approved project. The bill aims to provide emergency assistance to youth, children, and families who faced homelessness caused by the medical and economic issues of COVID-19. It has not been enacted yet, and there are 2% of it being passed (Murkowski, 2020). Legislative action may be occurring on one of the similar bills instead of or in parallel to act on this bill.
Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for the bill’s program implementation to the practice. In addition, this organization will bear the financial expenses; that is, it will be the source of funding. Multiple national and Alaska’s social organizations will also sponsor the program suggested by the bill. Moreover, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, an Indian tribe or tribal organization that provides advice or assistance to other services in supplying direct services, are considered to be providing immediate benefits for this act’s purposes.
The bill also aims to meet the families’ needs that significantly suffered from coronavirus and left homeless. The goals are set to “provide direct services to youth, children, and families experiencing homelessness who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason” (Murkowski, 2020, para. 26). Therefore, the act aims to protect the vulnerable groups of the population by supplying necessary resources during the pandemic.
Analysis of the Bill
Like many other acts, laws, and bills, the Emergency Family Stabilization Act is likely to bring about significant public health changes. Public health can be defined as the science of preventing diseases which aims at improving life quality and prolong it by resorting to specific social organizations and communities (Murkowski, 2020). Consequently, by making an informed choice, a social worker or community may implement programs to help people alleviate their health.
The bill is supposed to significantly impact those who encountered multiple health, housing, and other related issues during the pandemic of coronavirus. The suggested program aims to resolve various problems connected with providing accommodation, food, health, and dental services (Murkowski, 2020). The bill will provide “transportation, including payments for gas, emergency vehicle repairs, required insurance, driver’s education, driver’s license fees, public transportation, and other transportation appropriate for Tribal and rural locations” (Murkowski, 2020, para. 30). As a result, indigenous people will be able to move around the places, go to school, or work whenever they need. Besides, they will have access to internet services so that they could be aware of the world’s news. The possibility of receiving education will enable children and adults to keep on improving their skills and abilities. Such a complicated approach to sustaining their lives will help them think about the future and set bigger goals. However, there is also a risk factor that can be impacted by the act. This factor refers to spreading the virus in a faster manner (Murkowski, 2020). It implies that when many homeless people will come to one place, there is a greater chance of catching an infection.
The positive outcomes of enacting this bill would be ameliorating families’ lives and providing them with needed services or housing. Despite that the housing provider may be temporary, they will have time to regain their health, economic, and other resources to get back to normal. Moreover, they will receive nutritious food and healthcare services daily, guaranteeing they will survive in this troublesome time (Murkowski, 2020). Therefore, they will considerably improve the quality of life and receive motivation to move on.
On the other hand, the unintended adverse outcomes can also occur. Primarily, youth, children, and families that would benefit from this bill may become comfortable with the provision and will not be ready to get back to regular life. Relying on help guaranteed by the bill, the families are likely to demand more if they are unsatisfied with the number of services provided. What is more, some families may bring their relatives or other people who do not need real help.
As a result, the quality of the FYT population’s level of life is to improve. Implementing all the health interventions into practice will help identify their well-being issues and seek the proper treatment. Moreover, such an approach will include not only physical damages but also mental disorders. Undoubtedly, both positive and negative outcomes are possible and inevitable; however, the act will ensure that people are protected for the most part..
To my mind, the bill is likely to change many lives in the United States, allowing many people to live in the current circumstances when not many people have enough resources to sustain a decent way of life. Moreover, I believe it will be helpful for those who left homeless because it is the only opportunity for them to survive in the time of troubles, especially now, when they are exposed to death. In addition, I consider the Emergency Family Stabilization Act as a salvation for those who have been suffering from a lack of medical services, food, accommodations, education, and other resources for a long time. Therefore, I do not have any opposition concerning this act as it promises to save people’s lives by providing necessary services. The most important thing it guarantees is accommodating those who lived outside or those who were evicted.
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I think that there is a need for an additional policy that could better address this program. Practical prevention activities should be considered in the first place to avoid massive homelessness. For instance, supportive services combined with providing permanent housing may prevent people from being homeless. As a result of this policy, many of those who have mental or physical disorders will feel uncomfortable having no home as they can resort to such centers for help.
The problem can also be addressed by social workers and their desire to eradicate it. I would primarily suggest creating emergency help centers for those who were just evicted or who lost housing due to any unfavorable circumstances. It is necessary, especially now, when many people who are left outside due to financial troubles face catching the coronavirus (Kranke te al., 2020). Such centers would help people find temporary housing. Moreover, they would offer vital medical services so that they are not infectious.
The core values of the NASW Code of Ethics are crucial for any bill connected with social work. One of the primary importance of this code relates to the dignity and worth of a person. This value implies that each individual is extraordinary, with various social and social qualities. It means that social workers know the distinctions of all people they deal with and treat them with much respect, thus advancing their customers’ abilities (Jensen & Fraser, 2018). Moreover, it boosts their own needs and improves their circumstances. Social laborers must be mindful of their obligations to both individual customers and society overall and look for answers for their customers, likewise upholding society’s more extensive interests. It can be asserted that the bill respects indigenous people as they are and suggests services necessary for improving their lives. For instance, knowing that these populations lack proper education, they offer specific educational programs.
The other principal concerns integrity and trustworthy relationships. To encourage these connections and improve others’ relations within the society, the laborers must display reliability consistently. Every social worker must be persistently mindful of the central goals, values, moral standards, and norms and set a genuine case of these segments for their customers (Jensen & Fraser, 2018). By carrying on sincerely and mindfully, social specialists can advance the associations with which they are subsidiary while likewise making the most incentive for the populaces they serve.
As a result, the chosen bill corresponds to these primary values as their program proclaims that any individual matters, especially in the conditions of homelessness, when peoples’ lives are meaningful. Emergency Family Stabilization Act strictly follows each of the values; therefore, it should be enacted as soon as possible to prevent people from dying on the streets and spreading the infection.
California Health Care Foundation. (n. d.). Homelessness and COVID-19. Web.
COVID-19 is ‘a crisis within a crisis’ for homeless people. (2020). Modern Healthcare. Web.
Jensen, J., & Fraser, M. (2016). Social policy for children and families (3rd ed.). SAGE.
Kranke, D., Der-Martirosian, C., Hovsepian, S., Mudoh, Y., Gin, J., Weiss, E., & Dobalian, A. (2020). Social workers being effective in disaster settings. Social Work in Public Health. Web.
Murkowski, L. (2020). S. 3923: Emergency family stabilization act. GovTrack. Web.
Tsai, J., & Wilson, M. (2020). COVID-19: a potential public health problem for homeless populations. The Lancet, 5(4), E186-E187. Web.
Willis, N., & Molina, V. (2019). Self-care and the social worker: Taking our place in the code. Social Work, 64(1), 83–86. Web.