Homelessness In Waltham
In the Age of COVID-19
Update from Waltham
As you can imagine, things have been difficult for unhoused folks in Waltham. The local shelters have been making people leave at 7:45 AM and not allowing them back in until 4 PM. As a result, people without homes are walking around Waltham with no place to go, since businesses and most public institutions, such as the library, are not open for them to take shelter from the weather or simply pass the time.
What are we doing now?
In the midst of all of this, it is crucial for our community to know that they are still seen and loved. We are addressing the needs of our community in four ways right now:
Making sure people can eat breakfast. Every weekday morning, we stand on the sidewalk outside McDonald's with a stack of $5 gift cards. Each gift card allows someone to buy themselves a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich and use the bathroom. Just as importantly, as we stand outside McDonald’s we offer our presence and companionship to a community that is even more isolated than normal during this pandemic.
We are moving to tele-chaplaincy as much as possible. We have the phone numbers of roughly 60 unhoused people in Waltham, and we check in with them several times throughout the week. As part of this work, we are trying to make sure that all people experiencing homelessness have a phone. There are perhaps ten people who sleep outside who do not have phones, which makes them incredibly isolated. We are planning to purchase phones for folks who have no other option.
We are working to get tablets and internet access for members of our community who have been recently housed. These folks are also isolated. We are also working with Mutual Aid Waltham to help get groceries for recently housed people.
Lastly, we are trying to pressure the city of Waltham and the shelters to do more to support people without homes.
How can you help?
You can donate here, which will help us buy people breakfasts, phones, groceries, and more.