How Homeless Austinites are Social Isolating During COVID-19

May 06, 2020

Austin's stay home orders were recently extending by Mayor Adler through May 30th for the City of Austin and June 15th by 

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt.

“It's strongly encouraged that we not engage in non-essential activity in order to keep the infection rate down,” said Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt.

But how is it possible for people that don't have a home to follow the stay at home orders passed down by the city and county? Here are some ways homeless residents are hunkering down.

The City of Austin website states "Homeless individuals are not subject to the shelter in place order but are encouraged to seek shelter. The City will continue to work with state and local partners, to maximize available resources for the homeless population."

Pausing Tent Cleanups

The city has halted all evacuations of homeless residents from encampments. This allows people to stay home in their tents rather than moving from place to place.

Partnering With Food Bank

Starting last week the city has partnered with the Central Texas Food Bank to provide free meals to homeless residents. This allows churches to stay closed while people are still fed.

Expanding Housing

The city has set aside additional resources for homeless resident housing to allow for more beds. They are also considering using abandoned hotels owned by the city to house homeless residents during this pandemic.

Additional Cleaning Stations

Additional bathroom stations with hand washing stations have been placed in areas with a high population of homeless residents. This allows for regular and thorough hand washing as recommended by the CDC.

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