The coronavirus has hit New York City’s homeless shelter system.
Thursday evening, six cases of Covid-19 emerged in six separate shelters, Pix 11 reported.
Three of those who tested positive were hospitalized, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services, and another is at a Department of Homeless Services quarantine location for the next two weeks.
New York’s homelessness problem was a crisis well before the emergence of a highly contagious virus that has swept the globe in recent weeks. Currently, about 92,000 people are homeless in New York state.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposed setting aside units in luxury towers for the homeless, but his solution would only make about 200 units available. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie spoke at length about homelessness during an address earlier this year, where he pointed out that the number of homeless in New York over a recent 12-month period exceeded 250,000. The city’s shelter population is about 60,000.
Advocates say those who are homeless will be disproportionately affected by coronavirus, and are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include more funding for public housing and rental assistance in the state budget, which is due by April 1. [Pix 11] — Georgia Kromrei