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Floridians Prepare For Homelessness As Coronavirus Takes Out Jobs

Mar 25, 2020

Homeless centers in Florida are having to turn people away people right now. Some who lost their jobs because of coronavirus are now also losing their chances for shelter.

They’re calling housing centers to prepare for homelessness soon, but Cornilous Merritt with Homeless Helping Homeless said due to the safety restrictions -- such as no more than 10 people to a room at 6 feet apart -- all five of their Tampa facilities are full.

CORONAVIRUS: Complete Coverage From WUSF And Health News Florida

"It's a lot of mothers with children. It's single men. It's just a lot because people, not only are they out of jobs, but they also have to still be able to obtain the means of living, which is very hard at this time," he said.

Merritt said it’s really hard to tell people there’s no more space. 

Homeless Helping Homeless is trying to find more space, and quick. 

The Salvation Army in Manatee County is not experiencing the same volume of need. In fact, they're seeing the opposite.

Spokeswoman Kelly French said they’re actually seeing less overnight clients than usual, and she attributes that to COVID-19 social distancing.

The Bradenton facility also hosts a community dinner of about 200 people every night, and that was one of the first things they did have to change.

"We moved that dinner service to outside. We pack up all the food in to-go containers. And we're also doing it a little bit earlier in the day," she said.

Anyone who is food insecure -- not just the homeless -- can pick up a meal to-go at the Bradenton facility starting at 3 p.m. every afternoon.

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