Author: Claudia Boyd-Barrett

A mother hugging her child.

For Survivors of Violence and Their Kids, a Push to Prioritize Housing

Domestic violence, the leading cause of homelessness among women and children, is increasing during the pandemic, but a way for survivors to get “housing first” is a bright light.

While people from all socioeconomic backgrounds experience domestic violence, low-income survivors and immigrant women are especially at risk of becoming homeless due to lack of resources.

Former foster youth Diana Pham, 26, celebrates her graduation from San Jose State University in May. She completed her degree online after the school halted online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

California Considers Extending Foster Care for Young Adults Until Pandemic Emergency Ends

More than 7,000 young people ages 18 to 21 are in California’s foster care system. These young people, and others who recently aged out of foster care, are struggling under the weight of the pandemic and its economic fallout.

Meeting the needs of foster youth is also a racial justice issue. A disproportionate percentage of foster youth are Black or Native American, largely due to structural inequality and racism.

Two seniors wearing masks sit on a bench near Venice beach in mid-April.

For Seniors, Another COVID-19 Hazard: Scammers

Advocates who work with seniors are bracing for a new wave of scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, California Senior Medicare Patrol, which helps Medicare beneficiaries avoid fraud, has received reports of several new scams. Fraudsters have visited residents in senior housing offering them “opportunities” for COVID-19 testing in exchange for their Medicare number. Con artists posing as Medicare officials have called seniors and promised them a (non-existent) COVID-19 vaccine.

At High Risk From Coronavirus, Undocumented Seniors Fear Seeking Medical Care

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to fulfill a budget proposal that would expand Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented seniors.

They argue that having thousands of uninsured elderly residents in the state puts these seniors and the broader public at risk. Many see it as a step toward a broader goal: extending coverage to all low-income, undocumented adults.

Kids Who Rely On Ventilators Can’t Get Enough Supplies, Putting Their Lives At Risk

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for ventilators and accessories has soared. As a result, families caring for medically fragile kids are being forced to ration and even reuse parts.

At least 3,000 children in California rely on ventilators, according to the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers, and many of them are facing a shortage of the supplies that help keep them alive.

For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle

As Californians across the state shelter at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak, an estimated 1 million of them lack access to clean drinking water, one of the most fundamental resources for maintaining health and hygiene.

Many of these residents are concentrated in rural parts of the state, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, where dozens of small public water systems fail to meet safety standards.

Community Groups Serve as Pandemic Information Lifeline to Non-English Speakers

Across the state, groups that serve immigrant and ethnically diverse populations are scrambling to meet a sudden surge in demand for coronavirus-related information in languages other than English.

While state and local authorities do provide translations of some information, particularly in more widely-spoken languages such as Spanish, there remain huge gaps in what is available, particularly given the speed at which news and policies around the coronavirus are developing.

Pandemic Underscores the Plight of Undocumented Californians

California is home to more than 2 million undocumented immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Now, in the unprecedented economic and health emergency of COVID-19, undocumented Californians are among the most vulnerable.

Some immigrant advocacy groups are calling on the state to extend unemployment insurance and the earned income tax credit to undocumented workers to cushion the economic blow from job losses.

Coronavirus Disrupts Services, Heightens Risk for Medically Fragile Children

Even though children in general are less likely than adults to develop serious illness from the coronavirus, that may not be the case for kids with compromised immune systems and complex health care needs, medical experts said.

Still, families of children with complex health care needs are, in some ways, more prepared than others to handle the threat of coronavirus infection. Hand washing, disinfecting and caution about venturing outside are already a reality.

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