Women who are homeless have seen a 35% rate of infection of Covid-19, markedly higher than the rest of the population. When Dr. Roseanna Means saw this, she knew she had to do something. With 4,000 women who are homeless in her home city of Boston, she set out to figure out what that was.
After raising $80,000, Means started Health Care Without Walls, a health clinic of women without shelter in downtown Boston. In addition to treating chronic diseases like diabetes, the clinic helps women apply for housing and Medicaid. It’s now operating with a $1.5 million annual budget.
Since the start of the pandemic, Means has seen a higher number of women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, who have been evicted after job loss and other financial hardships. While many shelters closed at that time, she felt even more driven to provide care for those who needed it most.
Means says, “What people don’t think about is that this could be you or me,” she says, “because life is fragile, finances are fragile, rents are high, the cost of living is high. And that’s what I say to a lot of people: There but for the grace of God go any of us.”