"Places we used to go are all closed. Food and accommodation are less accessible, not to mention anti-pandemic supplies. The worst would be those unfriendly looks other people gave us." A homeless man said.
How to fight against the pandemic at home when you do not even have one?
Amid the public health crisis of COVID-19 outbreak, experts encouraged citizens to stay at home as much as possible and avoid going to crowded places. However, life is much more difficult for those homeless people roaming the streets. Pedestrians would evade or despise the homeless roaming around without face masks. Under the enforcement of social distancing measures, the homeless have nowhere to go. The closure of public bathhouse and shower facilities forced them to clean themselves at a public toilet with a wet towel. The severe inadequacy in anti-pandemic supplies put them at higher infection risk. Hence, the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) issued an emergency appeal in April to the public, hoping to gather more resources to help this vulnerable group in fighting against the virus.
We visited the homeless to understand their needs under the arrangement of our community partners that provide services to them. Venessa, the staff of the HKRC, personally contacted the homeless to express our concerns, and distributed "Hygiene Kits" to meet their pressing needs. Our acts made them feel warm. Places that they used to go before the outbreak, or organization offering food were all closed. Moreover, they barely make ends meet to pay for their daily meals, how could they afford the pricey epidemic prevention supplies? They would simply wash and reuse the mask for few days, just to make sure their faces were covered with mask to avoid being despised on the street. That’s why they thanked us sincerely and treasured dearly for the hygiene kit we distributed.
THANK YOU for the timely assistance and long-term support
“Most homeless people are no different from ordinary people.” Venessa said. “They also pay attention to health and hygiene, and cherish others’ care and respect. However, the inadequacy in resources restrains them from protecting themselves, and exposes them to discrimination and dirty looks.” She hopes through paying them visits and showing them social care, the homeless can understand that they are not alone. With the generous donation from passionate donors like YOU, we hope they can overcome the challenges. The HKRC has cooperated with community partners that provide services to the homeless since April 2020. We have been providing masks, alcohol hand rub, shampoos, shower gels, disinfectant wipes, other infection control and sanitary items, to improve the hygienic condition of the homeless and preserving their dignities.
Vulnerable groups in our community not only need timely assistance, but also long-term and sustainable support. For that, we must stay committed to help those in need, and to spread knowledge about hygiene and disaster preparedness. With your support, we can work together to build a healthy and safe community to minimize the fear of infectious diseases.
Please join the "Friends of the Red Cross" Monthly Donation Program, or click here to increase your current monthly donation, so that we can carry out more humanitarian services and alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable groups in our community.