Homeless Wisconsinites turn to tents during pandemic — 7/6/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we highlight a story by Dean Mosiman of the Wisconsin State Journal. He reports that homeless people in Madison are increasingly living in tents on public property in an apparent effort to avoid the potential spread of coronavirus at shelters. 

“The choice offers more freedom and makes social distancing easier, but it’s also less hygienic, with a lack of access to soap, water and other sanitation supplies — a primary means of preventing infection, said city community development director Jim O’Keefe, who estimates that more than 60 people are camping and receiving services,” Mosiman reports. “Dozens more — perhaps another 40 to 50 — are believed to be camping in out-of-the-way places unknown to those who work with the homeless.”

Top Stories

John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal

Heather Hypse rests outside her tent on Madison’s East side. She and her companion, Richard Potenberg, have jobs and hope to find housing.

More homeless people ditching shelters for camp sites amid COVID-19 pandemicWisconsin State Journal 

‘It’s terrifying’: Families worry about inmates as some Wisconsin prison staff not required to wear masks even as COVID-19 on riseMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

Appeals court puts Safer Racine ordinance back in effect, 48 hours after local judge overturned itRacine Journal Times 

As COVID-19 cases increase, UW-Madison employee concerns about fall semester growWisconsin State Journal 

Vos company received $150K-$350K in coronavirus loansAssociated Press 

Agonizing lag in coronavirus research puts pregnant women and babies at riskProPublica 

The big factor holding back the U.S. economic recovery: Child careWashington Post 

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization 

Housing trouble? 

Are you a Milwaukeean who is worried about losing your home or apartment because of the pandemic? Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier media. Click here for details. 


“It’s not just about emptying trash cans and cleaning toilets … It’s about protecting the health and welfare of the occupants of a facility.”

KleenMark CEO Scott Stevenson, speaking to the Wisconsin State Journal about the vital role of commercial cleaning companies in slowing the spread of the coronavirus

Data to note

The New York Times offers “the fullest look yet at the racial inequity of coronavirus” in this county-by-county breakdown of how the virus disproportionately affects people of color. Hover over Racine County, for instance, to see that the per capita rate of cases for Black and Hispanic residents is roughly seven times higher than that of whites.  

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Monday reported 484 new cases of COVID-19, with 9.2% of tests returning positive. The department reported zero new deaths in a pandemic that has reportedly killed 796.

Here’s the latest visualization of the trajectory of new cases from our partners at WisContext.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

‘Madison Street Market’: Neighborhood kids set up stand to support community during tough timesLa Crosse Tribune  

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