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.
The homelessness crisis is only further complicated by #COVID19. We must protect our fellow New Yorkers and move them off the streets/out of shelters into vacant hotel rooms to help #StopTheSpread, + cease all enforcement sweeps on the subways and streets. #HomelessCantStayHome
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo)
April 7, 2020
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 poor and people of color tend to die earlier and suffer worse health outcomes.
The new numbers show the virus ravaging the city’s communities of color and spreading along the edges of New York’s vast economic divide.” https://t.co/HH1ZtQvM85