Podcast | Homelessness, coronavirus and our frayed safety net

Reporter David Kroman discusses the impacts of widespread need, the government's response and a possible new era of empathy. 

Man with a sign, standing near a fence

A person with a sign stands along a fence where a homeless encampment once existed along the exit to Ballard Bridge in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, April 27, 2018. (Matt M. McKnight/Crosscut)

The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a host of new problems, but it has also taken some longstanding problems and made them considerably worse. Homelessness was already considered an emergency in the Seattle region before the current crisis, but the threat of infection and the massive economic contraction have put those without shelter at greater risk while moving many low-income workers living paycheck to paycheck to the edge. Government has stepped in with assistance that has kept the unemployed afloat and, in some cases, provided homes to the homeless. What happens, though, when that assistance runs out? And how will we all think about our societal safety net once we have all known, or been, someone who has benefited from it? For this episode of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard speaks with Crosscut reporter David Kroman about this unprecedented response and how it has changed the political calculus when addressing the problems facing the most vulnerable among us.