Philadelphia officials working with nonprofit organizations to keep homeless population safe during COVID-19

The city’s unsheltered population of several thousand is not immune to the menacing spread of COVID-19. City officials are working with countless nonprofits to help protect them.

"This is not an easy issue as I’m talking to colleagues across the country, both the county and the city level, all of us are struggling with and understand," the city's managing director Brian Abernathy said.


While dealing with a host of other challenges in a pandemic, city officials say they are working with the 60 plus nonprofits in the homeless system to try to educate the homeless, mentally ill and addicted population.

"Our outreach teams are doing a tremendous job, a heroic job of educating our unsettled population to try to get them to do social distancing," Abernathy said.

Advocates say social distancing and COVID-19 isn't a priority when homeless people are hungry and/or struggling with mental and addiction issues.

The city’s shelters are open and they are taking precautions as they can.

"We are reducing density by establishing six feet between each bed and we are setting up grab-and-go meals rather than congregating meals," Abernathy said.


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