INDIANAPOLIS -- The city is stepping up its efforts to help the homeless in the face of the pandemic.
“As a city, our number one priority is the health and safety of our residents. Just like anyone else in our community, our most vulnerable neighbors are safer at home,” said Mayor Hogsett. “That’s why we are committed to a community response that provides shelter, food, healthcare, and other resources to our residents experiencing homelessness, and help them follow social distancing and other public health guidelines to the greatest extent possible.”
Steps being taken include setting up temporary homeless shelters at Garfield Park on the south side and Washington Park on the east side. The goal is to provide more space for the homeless who have a difficult time with social distancing at crowded shelters.
“Preventing the spread of COVID-19 among all residents is critical to flattening the curve of spread in our community,” said Virginia Caine, Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “My thanks to the Lilly Endowment, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the many community partners who have stepped up by providing funding, services, or other resources to care for those experiencing homelessness.”
According to the mayor's office, the city is working with organizations for the homeless in placing portable handwashing stations downtown.
“We have been working over recent weeks to responsibly utilize city facilities and resources to ensure our most vulnerable residents can access shelter and support following social distancing guidelines, all while maintaining a healthy workforce of outreach providers who can care for these individuals safely,” said Paul Babcock, Director of the City’s Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS).
The efforts also include a partnership involving a number of organizations to provide more than 1,600 fresh meals each week to homeless people who choose to sleep outside.