Tags: Coronavirus | coronavirus | homeless | outbreak | pandemic

Coronavirus Could Devastate Nation's Homeless, Officials Fear

one of san francisco's homeless tents, pitched under a freeway
The tent of a homeless man is pitched on the sidewalk under a freeway in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 March 2020 06:24 PM

Officials in some of the nation's largest cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago are concerned that the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the United States will kill people living in homeless camps by the thousands, while also contributing to the spread of the disease. 

"Since before we knew we had a case, it was on our shortlist of concerns," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told The Hill. "It remains a very big concern for the city of Seattle, both from a public health standpoint as well as just the ability to deliver basic services.”

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are about 568,000 homeless people in the United States, with more than 150,000 in California alone. 

Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, says that people living on the streets or in shelters are susceptible to catching diseases and have at increased risk of spreading the it than are people who can practice social distancing. 

Some states and cities are starting to take measures. In San Francisco, health officials are trying to secure at least 400 hotel rooms for people being tested for coronavirus, reports NBC News.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday the state has blocked off almost 400 Oakland hotel rooms to clear away homeless encampments. He also said coronavirus has killed a homeless person from Santa Clara County. 

“The best and most effective thing to do is to find places for people to live, creating housing. There are some shorter, faster ways to do that,” Foscarinis told The Hill. 

Meanwhile, some cities are suspending rental evictions during the outbreak so more people don't end up on the streets, and utility companies are suspending turning off utilities for overdue payments. 

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Officials in some of the nation's largest cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago are concerned that the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the United States will kill people living in homeless camps by the thousands, while also contributing to the spread of the...
coronavirus, homeless, outbreak, pandemic
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2020-24-17
Tuesday, 17 March 2020 06:24 PM
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