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News > U.S.

New York Homeless People Is Unprotected Against the Pandemic

  • A man sets up his bed outside a store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., 2020.

    A man sets up his bed outside a store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @BernieFireball

Published 10 April 2020

Shelters for the poor in NYC are not properly equipped to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

In New York City, the homeless population is facing the COVID-19 pandemic without governmental guarantees, no sanitary assistance, and no appropriate shelters.


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In January 2020, there were 62,679 homeless people, including 14,682 families with 22,013 children, all of them depending on the NYC shelters to spend the night. ​​​​​​

Although these shelters provide basic livelihood conditions, they are not equipped to prevent the spread of the pandemic. For overcrowding or lack of sanitizing protocols are usual inconveniences.

The Coalition for the Homeless pointed out that many people have previous health problems such as malnutrition or untreated diseases, which make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.​​​​​​​

Many advocators for homeless rights stressed that the city has 30,000 vacant hotel rooms that could provide a safe space to the ones who are exposed to the virus.

There are over 120,000 hotel rooms across the five boroughs and hotel occupancy rates have fallen 80 percent.

If implemented, this strategy would allow the quarantine to be much more effective since the homeless people who live in subway stations are already isolated.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The decision to assign these resources relays in New York mayor Bill de Blasio who has not implemented an administrative plan to assist the homeless people. ​​​​​​​

New York, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., registers 159.937 positive cases and about 7.000 deaths.

Among them, 13 homeless persons have died due to the virus. Up to now, 97 sheltering facilities have reported 12 COVID-19 cases.  ​​​​​​​

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