by Mary King – President
With the novel coronavirus now declared a national emergency, The NEYIC has significantly increased its preparation for the current outbreak in the city of Detroit and has ramped up efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, especially among the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
With Southeastern Michigan having the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the top 25 metro areas in the U.S. by population, a disproportionate number of them are negatively impacted by this outbreak. Several will be lower-income and are experiencing homelessness. Although people experiencing homelessness can be more isolated, they also tend to have chronic medical issues and severely lack access to proper hygiene, updated information, medical resources, and care.
Several industries are at risk of financial hardship, such as travel and hospitality. We anticipate a significant increase in emergency assistance for low-wage employees in the Detroit area who may be temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus.
Ensuring the safety of those who depend on The NEYIC’s programs and services, along with the security of staff and volunteers, is of utmost priority. We are working with health officials at the local, state, and federal levels – including participating in situation-awareness calls with national partners such as the Detroit Health Department, The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN), and the DHS, and HHS. Hygiene and prevention guidance by CDC recommendations is being used and shared with staff, volunteers, and program participants. Additional protocols are being formed quickly across the U.S. should further restrictions be placed on our communities.