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People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) will offer 50 beds to homeless individuals to provide shelter from the expected rain. The beds will open on Sunday, March 22, and Monday, March 23. PATH stressed in a press release that it is “complying with all County and State Public Health Guidelines.”
The spread of the COVID-19 virus has highlighted the vulnerability of the unhoused in recent days and has presented additional challenges for the organizations providing shelter. In particular, shelter-in-place orders are difficult to implement in facilities usually meant for overnight use, with populations filtering in and out on a daily basis. Implementing social distancing practices also decreases the number of beds available at shelters. Governor Newsom recently declared that county governments can conscript motel rooms to provide shelter if necessary. It is unclear thus far if the county plans to take advantage of this proposal.
PATH declared that all residents will have to comply with sanitation procedures to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19. Those practices include:
- Sanitizing their hands (and/or wash) prior to entry at PATH
- Receiving the COVID-19 Screening Tool upon entry (each night)
- Limiting their exit and entry to two times per day — unless they are leaving the facility for good
- Abiding by PATH rules
- Sleeping six feet apart and maintaining a head-to-toe lying formation.
- PATH strongly encourages rain-bed residents not to leave on Monday.
PATH has also stated that anyone in their facility exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will immediately be separated, and Public Health will transport them out of PATH facilities. In a statement, PATH declared that “If a person tests positive for COVID-19 at PATH, there will be an official response from the County Department of Public Health. At this point, that has not occurred.”