Due to the health crisis, support from neighbors in the absence of a family or other social network to fall back on could become rarer, said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “Usually when people get evicted, they pull something together. They either stay with family or someone lets them stay for a while, and then they move on to someplace else. Most commonly, even among low-income people, they do eventually get into housing, in normal times,” she said.
Municipalities can begin by changing policies or statutes so police officers never respond to certain kinds of emergencies, including ones that involve substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or mental health. Instead, health care workers or emergency response teams would handle these incidents. So if someone calls 911 to report a drug overdose, health care teams rush to the scene; the police wouldn’t get involved. If a person calls 911 to complain about people who are homeless, rapid response social workers would provide them with housing support and other resources.