Getting stimulus checks to Americans experiencing homelessness

ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks talks to advocates across the U.S. who are working to get much-needed stimulus checks to Americans living on the streets and in their cars.
7:12 | 03/24/21

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Transcript for Getting stimulus checks to Americans experiencing homelessness
A stimulus checks begin going out to millions of American and there's one group most in need who may struggle to get it the homeless. So advocates around the country are working to make sure those living on the streets or in their cars have access to this much needed relief. Here's ABC's Mary house parks. Tricia Leigh says she has not. Had any luck so far collecting what of those stimulus checks offered from the federal government during the pandemic. Although she and her son. Are facing incredibly hard times for the past year she's lived on and off the streets in downtown Chicago after she lost her job and her apartment. She says she tried to sign up online for that paid public libraries closed figured out the right forms Felton possible. It's very hard when. Yourself on you have your minutes on it whatever you have life you can't call that he can contact him still after all the effort another roadblock I thought I would prove that they have made that if that fewer troops. And then because they didn't have an address to put money into the night guesstimate. People just about to speak to too difficult. Too depressing actually. Tricia is not alone local officials say housing insecurity has risen sharply across the country in this last year. But more people living in their cars and on the street. One national stats for 20/20 aren't available yet according to a new report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Over 580000. People experience homelessness. Even before the pandemic began. Without basic resource as many of the most vulnerable Americans have struggled to get direct payments they were eligible for. But across the country advocates have stepped in. Brian spangler with heartland alliance in Chicago is helping people like Trish. So far he's worked with hundreds of local residents to navigate the red tape and hurdles to get their payments. We were able to. Don't go out there with laptops and hotspots in to help folks Sino soared. Stimulus you know the question that we ask ourselves is. You know Howell. Jim we ensure that people have a right to this money. Black ski don't have barriers. And actually get it. Residents were approved as we know. Looks like he's probably seeded second guessing. Let me when Larry Goldman behind. With Brian's help Chanel was able to receiver direct payments with the age she received in December she says she bought food and propane. Without it she's not sure how she would have gotten through the winter done. Lot of going to have learned their. Experts say an estimated ten million of the poorest Americans. Had not recently needed to file tax returns because of that they were not automatically in the IRS's system. To receive direct stimulus payments this last year. Even after people were signed up if they did not have bank accounts. They were either sent debit cards or paper checks and cashing those paper checks could be a challenge and he's like that's an issue is the majority can believer dressed. Don't happening now trying to. Yes though the vast majority most folks are getting that. Paper checks and then being like okay what do I do with us now. As I don't know how to you know I can't really catch it just don't have an ID and then you know the dean he's close and I can't get and so it's totals. In Birmingham Alabama. Aircrew Robinson worked with individual bankers she knew to make sure some of her neighbors could get checks cashed. Just because you don't have formed the group does not me you know they're not. On your neighbors just because that he are on the street doesn't mean that they're not you know citizens we situation and there. The resource is especially. Worries clothes and is on. How are they going why where this money. Hey we needs our. Times. Since records and some volunteers. And we're gonna help people this month. Word spread fast. Erica took appointment at a nearby church that also let them use their mailing address to receive checks. He was. Such bliss and when this started growing need in the east RD armored received money. A little you don't run as a means to me. Your home she nor should aim and you know hotel room or few days out of you and take a shower. Millions of Americans are currently eligible for their third direct payment since the pandemic began the IRS says they are making improvements to their systems and working directly with partners in shelters. But both Erika and Ryan say signing people up has not gotten easier. Have you felt the support from the state government the federal government in doing this work. I don't know. Even if you're the only way. Shelter us. We usually who does something humor there are trying to shelter system. An added challenge if someone did not sign up last year. The IRS is now asking individuals to file a full tax return. Did he signed up for the first checked out you can get all the other checks and to the same place so as long as years. Actress hasn't changed you're you're fine. It's so it's hard to sign a post now that happens signed up at all. And because you have to file taxes he ends her someone living on the street that's homeless that's a difficult process. In Burlington, North Carolina Janet tree all of runs fresh start Allen Nance. And helped Donald McBride secure his stimulus check which he says he used to buy sued and pay for a temporary place Tuesday. Or computer or. Me aren't I don't know how did it sure. Yet our eight and she never should. An admiral. But Janet says jobs and affordable housing are still too hard to come by there was a stimulus check is great. It's it's a band aid and it's really hard to get it done if he don't have certain skills ordered because there are still many people looking for drugs. You can get hasn't and you can't keep housing. I'm if you don't have a job. The latest covad relief package includes five billion dollars for emergency homeless service says another 25 billion in rental assistance as well as funding for substance abuse treatment. Health care and child care. 14100. Dollar check on them is is obviously not enough and tune to salt someone's homelessness. But it is an incredibly. Important incentive. People to addressing issues that may be barriers it'll give people borrow money for a down payment. Money to pay your utility year Riordan is money should be able to afford to rent for a couple months so well. It is an enormous. Positive how come from people living in all the margins especially to political and for ABC news I'm Mary Alice parks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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