How the Coronavirus Outbreak Impacts Homeless Families


March 28, 2020

The message we keep hearing from public health experts as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds is, “Stay home.”

But what if you don’t have a home?

In the newest episode of “Covering Coronavirus,” our special series from the FRONTLINE Dispatch podcast, I speak with filmmaker Ben C. Solomon about how, for families already battling homelessness and poverty, the coronavirus crisis is deepening the struggle.

Ben, our Abrams Filmmaker-in-Residence, has been filming inside Bethany House, a shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio for families experiencing homelessness.

Thanks to fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, “in just a matter of weeks, most of the opportunities these people had to move out of homelessness — to make money, to get an apartment — those opportunities are going away,” Ben tells me.

In this episode, you’ll hear directly from a family Ben is filming with as they face the coronavirus crisis while also navigating homelessness. Amanda, a mother of three, is scared of getting sick. But she keeps showing up for her shifts at McDonald’s, in a fight to make ends meet that’s getting harder and harder.

“My mama is really trying hard,” says Amanda’s eight-year-old daughter Nisha.

For the full story, listen to “Covering Coronavirus: Cincinnati, Ohio,” from the FRONTLINE Dispatch. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

And stay tuned for our next podcast episode — a report from Athens, Ohio, where filmmaker Jezza Neumann is reporting on school shutdowns, food scarcity, and what it all means for low-income kids.

Thank you for listening.

Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, FRONTLINE



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