HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It’s easier to wash your hands and practice social distancing when you have a home to go to every night.
Protecting our neighbors from the COVID-19 coronavirus includes the people we sometimes forget.
Caring after the homeless
The Downtown Rescue Mission spoke to WHNT News 19 about what’s being done to protect Madison County’s homeless population. President and CEO Keith Overholt said the people living inside of a shelter are more susceptible to COVID-19 than the people who sleep outside because they’re closer together.
The people without a home come to the Downtown Rescue Mission. Three-hundred men, women and children call the rescue mission home just about every night, and protecting them from COVID-19 is possible.
“Anybody that comes through our doors, they’re asked at least 3 or 4 questions,” said Overholt. The CEO said those questions range from where clients were to how they’re feeling. If anyone’s sick, he’s sending them to the hospital. Fortunately, that hasn’t been required yet.
“I work down at the mission,” said Eddie Hampton. “I see people every day, they got some cold, they got all kinds of stuff wrong with them.”
A conversation with the CDC
The rescue mission has been following orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other homelessness agencies in the country.
“We talked to CDC yesterday,” said Overholt. He said the mission stopped accepting pre-made food because of the outbreak. Since schools are closed, the mission has more to prepare. The mission is caring after 30-40 children.
“There’s a little bit of an extra burden with them not going to school,” and Overholt. “We’re supplying their meals for breakfast and lunch every day.”
Residents are doing the best they can with what they have available.
“It’s amazing how quickly this thing evolved,” said Overholt.
They are bleaching floors every few hours and washing their hands frequently. Right now, the Downtown Rescue Mission needs money to provide for all the men, women and children. They say a prayer can go a long way too.