Albany leaders create plan to help homeless population during pandemic

Albany leaders create plan to help homeless population during pandemic

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - While many South Georgia families are practicing shelter-in-place in their homes, Albany city leaders are concerned about the people who have no home.

Albany officials are focusing on the homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are educating them on how they can remain safe and providing them with much-needed resources.

David Blackwell is the chairman of the Albany-Dougherty County Homeless Coalition.

David Blackwell
David Blackwell (Source: WALB)

“We are all citizens of the community. They are the most venerable at any time, 365 days of the year,” said Blackwell.

Blackwell said he and his team will continue to provide resources for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have done a good job over the past two weeks of getting information into our homeless citizens’ hands, stressing the importance of sanitation, hygiene and passed out a heck of a lot of hand sanitizer,” said Blackwell.

Dougherty County is ranked as number two in the state for the most positive cases of coronavirus.

Blackwell said while they continue to fight the spread, items are running low.

“Supplies, that is true in all our shelters. I had a phone conference call with all our shelter providers. Everybody needs gloves, masks and hand sanitizer,” explained Blackwell.

He adds that helping the homeless population can prevent the virus from spreading throughout the city based on reports from larger areas.

“It is still a challenge, it is spreading through the city of Atlanta and we hope it doesn’t happen here, but we feel like it is a matter of time,” Blackwell told WALB News 10.

Blackwell has been working with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to come up with a strategic plan that will help all homeless residents.

“To establish some hotel-motel vouchers for our homeless. And what we hope to do with that through the city of Albany, is get those who are not symptomatic or infected with the virus, to get them off the streets,” explained Blackwell.

Blackwell said the community can help.

“I would recommend to them, any of our social service agencies that provide meals or sheltering, if they can make financial contributions to them. Those shelters put it right into the need,” said Blackwell.

All donations can be received at any local shelter in Dougherty County like the Salvation Army, Open Arms and the Liberty House.

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