- The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially severe for individuals and families living in poverty. This is due to their greater exposure to the disease and its dangers, the setback to employment or work amid exposure and danger, additional new expenses, downsized public transportation, widening scholastic gaps, increasing dependence on bureaucracy and digital services, and less access to social services. The situation has been all the more difficult for particularly vulnerable populations, such as single-parent families, illegal residents, and the homeless.
- Different countries have provided an emergency response in the form of an assistance package to welfare organizations and various forms of financial help to individuals. These include sick pay for employees in isolation, compensation for loss of salary and supplementary salary for low wage earners, expanded pensions, assistance for housing and utility payments, and one-time benefits. In some countries, there are refugees or immigrants who are not entitled to governmental responses and/or struggle to exercise their rights.
- Additional means adopted to ease the plight of populations living in poverty have included shortcuts and dispensations in bureaucratic processes, the remote provision of social services and classification of welfare workers as essential employees, the provision of access to the internet and computer equipment, scholastic assistance to narrow gaps in education, initiatives of food supply, temporary housing for the homeless, improved access to services for immigrants, and community initiatives of local assistance.
- In advent of the gradual return to routine and to prepare for future emergencies professional agents and international organizations, such as the OECD, have suggested steps to simplify bureaucratic processes, reinforce the financial safety net of families that have been harmed, establish internet access as a basic right, make information available to people living in poverty and to immigrants, and involve people living in poverty in processes of public participation. Similarly, the pandemic has underscored the importance of consolidating the status of social workers and welfare workers as essential employees to ensure that responses are forthcoming to society’s vulnerable populations.
For MJB’s publications on the COVID-19 pandemic in English, press here.
For MJB’s publications on the COVID-19 pandemic in Hebrew, press here.