ALL NEWS

Helping the homeless during COVID-19

Apr 10, 2020, 6:29 AM
John Hansen of Project Empathy stands in Constitution Park in Salt Lake City after checking in with...
John Hansen of Project Empathy stands in Constitution Park in Salt Lake City after checking in with some homeless people he knows. It's been a challenge to help the unsheltered during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)
(Photo: Kelli Pierce)

SALT LAKE CITY — John Hansen runs the non-profit Project Empathy in the Salt Lake area helping homeless people and COVID-19 has made it harder to do that.

Hansen and his young son Chase like to talk with homeless people one on one, building a relationship with them and eventually connecting them with services or a job.

But last month the Hansens had to self-quarantine to protect the health of John’s mom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the individuals that we work with we can’t contact because they don’t have phones. A lot of the work that we’ve done is on TRAX or in different areas of town,” Hansen says.

Despite being cooped up, Hansen still felt the need to help.

“Just saw in downtown [Salt Lake City] that there’s lots and lots of tents down by the Sears building. I know that the county is doing some outreach and Volunteers of America, but I just look at those individuals and wonder what they must be going through,” Hansen says.

He feels the homeless are ultimately looking for meaningful relationships with other people.

“A lot of those individuals just associate with one another or their service providers. Oftentimes, meaningful contact or conversations that are authentic don’t really happen without it being sought out by somebody,” Hansen says.

John Hansen is able to go out and meet the homeless again and feels there is a silver lining to all the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We could have probably never asked for a greater primer for what we’re trying to advocate for, which is how important human connection is for our health and well-being. We got a temporary stay on that capacity to be around each other, at church or at school…I think in the next little bit individuals are going to be hungry for getting back out and developing relationships,” Hansen says.

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

The inventor of the Rubik's Cube offers advice for solving it, and says 'don't fear the complexity...
MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

The mind behind the Rubik’s Cube celebrates a lasting puzzle

Ernő Rubik invented the cube in 1974. Since then, the puzzle has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 450 million cubes sold.
14 hours ago
An 18-year-old man has turned himself into police in connection with a shooting in Orem at the Axis...
Allie Litzinger and Samantha Herrera

18-year-old connected to Orem shooting turns himself in

The man is accused of attempted murder after a shooting in Orem in November. He turned himself in with the help of his lawyer.
14 hours ago
lindsay lohan is pictured in a Santa outfit pouring milk into a glass of pepsi...
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN Business

Pepsi wants you to drink soda mixed with milk this holiday season

To make the campaign even trendier, Pepsi tapped Lindsay Lohan, star of the Netflix Christmas movie "Falling for Christmas," to promote the combination.
14 hours ago
USU Eastern Student Wins Bronze Medal in Welding Competition...
Aubri Wuthrich

USU Eastern student takes 3rd in global welding competition

The USU Eastern welding student scored seven points behind the gold medal winner and took the Best of Nation Award.
14 hours ago
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
14 hours ago
File photo: Soldiers from the Utah National Guard prepare to depart Roland R. Wright Air National G...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah Air National Guard Airman dies during routine deployment

An airman from the Utah National Guard passed away from undisclosed medical issues while deployed in Guam on Nov. 29.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Helping the homeless during COVID-19