We know how to prevent homelessness due to COVID-19

Jason Purnell and Patrick Fowler, associate professors at the Brown School


St. Louis needs to coordinate a fair and efficient way to keep families housed during the post-pandemic economic fallout. Fortunately, we know what to do – a robust homelessness prevention system stabilized thousands of St. Louis families during the Great Recession. We must quickly move to establish clear processes for distributing CARES Act funds to families who need them most.

The COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms burdened regional resources to homelessness. Data from United Way 2-1-1 tells the story. In the St. Louis metro area, the social services hotline fielded 7,700 calls for housing and shelter from March through April 2020 – a 50% increase compared with the same period in 2019. Requests for rental assistance tripled, while shelter requests more than quadrupled.

Read the full piece in the St. Louis American.