Brookings: America’s Inequitable Housing System Is Completely Unprepared For Coronavirus

Brookings, March 12, 2020: America’s Inequitable Housing System Is Completely Unprepared For Coronavirus

As COVID-19 (or the coronavirus) spreads and Americans prepare for potential quarantines, public health officials have recommended some advice for U.S. households: Namely, stock up two weeks of supplies, avoid crowds, and stay in your homes.

And that advice is fine for middle-class suburbanites with white-collar jobs. Sure, hop in the SUV and drive to the nearest Costco. Stash extra cases of canned beans in the pantry and frozen veggies in the basement freezer. Kids can hang out in their separate bedrooms or play in the backyard while parents conduct conference calls from the home office.

Of course, for people who lack these residential resources—especially those with unstable, crowded, or poor-quality housing—this situation is impossible. Not to mention the fact that workers in fields such as food service, retail, and hospitality can’t conduct their work remotely. In the face of a global pandemic, what are these Americans supposed to do?

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