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Local organizations step up to help homeless population

Local organizations are stepping up to help the homeless population during the coronavirus pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Apr 23, 2020, 6:38 PM

Updated 1,520 days ago

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Some of the most vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak are members of the homeless population. 
About 1,800 people are homeless in Westchester County, and they are now facing new obstacles to finding shelter and food.
Walter Ritz is the executive director at Hope Community Services in New Rochelle, which offers a number of services for the homeless, including a food pantry and soup kitchen.

"First thing we did was moved our soup kitchen and pantry outside and that was an effort to make sure the virus was limited," he says. 

The organization now offers grab-and-go meals. 
Westchester's Department of Social Services reports that homeless shelters, emergency housing and drop-in sites across the county are at 75% capacity.
Ritz says while there is housing available now, he is worried that once the Pause order ends, many families who can't make rent now will end up on the streets.

"We expect to see an increase in homelessness because the fact that individuals that are unable to pay their rent will likely be evicted," he says. "We are trying to make sure...that we are not leaving anyone hungry and that we are in a position to help someone who comes to us."

The county's Department of Social Services has housed, isolated and monitored 50 COVID-19 positive people. About 30 of those people remain isolated.
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