Home Summer 2020 Coronaworld (Summer 2020) Homeless People Left in the Lurch

Homeless People Left in the Lurch

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Homeless People Left in the Lurch

No income. No place to go. No relief.

These are the realities for homeless people, and some immigrants in New Brunswick, N.J., during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rutgers student I-Team found that the city of New Brunswick responded late to the crisis affecting the most vulnerable.  Abruptly bereft people have had to turn to their neighbors, or to search online, to find the help they need.

“The criminalization of homelessness has been amplified to the point that it’s just illegal now to be homeless,” said Walter Herres, the CEO and founder of Supporting Homeless Innovatively Loving Others.

Alex Lewis reports.

14.36 minutes

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Twitter: @alexlewismedia Professor: Juan González Class: Investigative Reporting Takeaway: I learned firsthand how quickly a story can change, and that in the face of overwhelming odds, one must always persist to get the facts straight. My project changed completely because of COVID-19, and remote work made getting in touch with and talking to government officials even harder. It also made going out to get footage and interview a risky and dangerous proposition. But I think the biggest learning experience was how much reporting can affect others, especially those vulnerable, in your community. Just days before publication, New Brunswick unveiled new programs for the homeless, which forced me to re-edit my video. But it showed that my persistence may have made a difference in the city's response.

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