COVID-19 has fundamentally changed many things, including how people interact. With that in mind, some cities are making major changes in response to the pandemic. Below we highlight some of the innovative changes taking place across the U.S. and the world:
Reading, United Kingdom
Ethical Reading is a new not-for-profit social enterprise in Reading that exists to help organizations in Reading encourage people to take a compassionate, respectful and responsible approach when making decisions at every level from the boardroom to everyday interactions. They are highlighting some of the incredible volunteers during the pandemic and working with local businesses and leaders to “Reboot Reading” with more caring, sustainable, ethical workplaces and communities.
No stranger to overcoming hardship, Detroit leaned on its history of resilience from long-term residents to fight the coronavirus. Community-driven progress through networks of neighborhood mutual aid, direct cash assistance, faith-based food distribution, and organization against water shutoffs and over-incarceration have swiftly brought relief to the most vulnerable. Simultaneously, nonprofit, business and philanthropic efforts rose to fill the gaps on basic needs, testing and education, including a $23 million investment in devices and internet access for every public school student in the district. The city of Detroit was one of the first to purchase rapid COVID-19 tests, offer testing to all symptomatic residents and essential workers, and sponsor transit to testing sites. In industry, automotive companies and suppliers retooled to manufacture and export millions of pieces of essential equipment, as well as develop a playbook utilized worldwide for reopening factories safely.
Along with surrounding communities Douglas and Fennville, this area known as the Art Coast has created a seal denoting that a business is adhering to safety standards, according to publicist Natalie Boscia who helps with tourism promotion. The goal is to provide a community-wide safety seal of approval for establishments that go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials aim for it to be specific, realistic and attainable, and estimate that 90 percent of Art Coast restaurants are taking part so far.
The city is offering a handful of bus routes for free to help people get to their destination, particularly essential or frontline workers who need to get to their jobs. During the first six days, more than 3,000 users took advantage. Preventative measures are also in place to help stymie the spread of the coronavirus.
In this deep-red state, residents are helping the immigrant communities who call the area home. Several funds and initiatives have been established to help immigrants who are experiencing negative financial effects due to COVID-19. A private relief effort has been set up to raise $5 million for undocumented immigrants. Another fund, Mi Gente (Spanish), offers two loan options. Still another initiative aims to support individuals by inviting others to share some of their stimulus check money with those who didn’t receive one because of their immigration status.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
The city recently allocated approximately $1.7 million in CARES Act funding to address the need for shelter for the homeless and those without somewhere to quarantine safely, according to Kelly Lundberg, who oversees the City of Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services An official estimates that about 3,500 individuals are without permanent housing at any time in the Fort Wayne area. A large portion of the funds are being used to provide assistance to ensure that people are stably housed. Examples include support for a temporary women’s shelter, funding for a quarantine shelter, emergency housing for people with no other options, and eviction-prevention programs that include financial and legal aid for renters and homeowners.
“Now more than ever, our community must pull together and help our neighbors in need,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “These much-needed federal dollars will be put to work quickly to help ensure residents have a safe place to sleep at night, as well as provide our shelters with critical supplies.”
This article is part of our reporting on The People’s COVID-19 Response. Here are a few articles from the series:
- Coronavirus catalyzes growing wave of grassroots action despite social distancing
- The coronavirus pandemic calls us to share more than ever
- The People’s COVID-19 Response needs you
- 10 ways to share during the COVID-19 pandemic
- The pandemic isn’t a portal, yet
- The Response: Resisting COVID-19 with mutual aid in Chico, CA
- 20 ways Shareable readers are helping during the pandemic