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This lesbian priest is fighting to protect the homeless who can’t self-isolate against coronavirus

Emma Powys Maurice March 23, 2020
Lesbian priest is fighting for the homeless population at risk of coronavirus

Kim Jackson is running to be state senator in Atlanta's District 41 on May 19 (Facebook/Kim Jackson)

A lesbian Episcopal priest is calling attention to Atlanta’s homeless population, who have been left with no protection amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Kim Jackson is currently the interim vicar at Church of the Common Ground, which focuses on serving the city’s homeless population. She’s also running to be Georgia’s first out LGBT+ state senator.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the nation, she’s using her voice as a religious leader to help those who fall between the cracks of the relief efforts.

“In order to get food if you’re experiencing homelessness, people have been really at the mercy of churches, mosques, religious communities, and people of good will,” she told LGBTQ Nation.

“And now that people of good will are quarantined in their homes, food has become very difficult to come by, and the state, in all of her wisdom in seeking to address this pandemic, has failed to address that particular issue.”

She warned that as more of Georgia nears the possibility of a shelter-in-place directive, it won’t mean much for those who have no shelter.

“I think this pandemic is exposing some of Georgia’s greatest long-term gaps in our social fabric,” she said.

“We don’t have affordable housing so people are living on the street. People cannot access the medical care they need in the ways that they need it. We have not addressed the issue of the homeless broadly speaking, but particularly for the coronavirus pandemic.

“States outside of Georgia have put hand-washing stations outside in public parks. Georgia has failed to do that.”

Many charities have warned of a “ticking time bomb” if rough sleepers succumb to coronavirus in crammed shelters.

In San Francisco, authorities are acting fast to get the homeless off the streets by leasing trailers and hotel rooms to quarantine rough sleepers showing signs of infection.

Elsewhere in GeorgiaMassachusetts, and Washington, DC, homelessness organisations have been setting up hot water hand-washing stations, restructuring the bedding layout of shelters, and providing on-the-ground education about the virus’s spread and prevention.

 

 

More: Atlanta, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Georgia, homelessness, Kim Jackson

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