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Homeless in Tenderloin more aware of coronavirus, but not of hotel plan

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Homeless outreach activists returned to the streets of the Tenderloin to find out what homeless people living there know about the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Eric Moseley and his daughter, Erica Moseley, surveyed dozens, and their results were more encouraging than their survey from just a week ago.

San Francisco’s homeless are now more educated about what the coronavirus is, and many even knew the steps recommended by the CDC to help prevent the virus from spreading. Last week, in contrast, 50 percent had never even heard of the word, “coronavirus.”

“We were surprised. There were more people that were educated about the coronavirus. The word is getting out on the streets,” Eric Moseley said.

But the majority were still were unaware of city and county leader’s new plans to get them into hotels so that they are able to shelter-in-place like the rest of the city’s residents.

More than 5,000 people in San Francisco do not have a home. Shelters are currently at capacity.

Five county supervisors are calling on the Public Health Officer to issue a health order prioritizing private rooms over congregate settings for people experiencing homelessness.

County supervisor Matt Haney said there are at least 30,000 hotel rooms empty, and several hotels have stepped up offering their empty rooms. Contracts are currently in the works.

“It is dangerous and reckless to leave thousands of people in our city out on the streets, or in congregate shelters where we know the virus can spread quickly. Hotels are stepping up, workers are stepping up, our city can step up and secure the thousands of hotel rooms needed for first responders, people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, and people who are unhoused. Let’s be proactive and preventative and get homeless people inside now, it’ll keep them healthy, and all of us healthy,” Haney said.

“This pandemic had made us realize that our individual well being is connected to that of the whole,” county supervisor Hillary Ronen said.

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