SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Several outreach organizations are diligently checking in on homeless individuals and screening them for COVID-19 symptoms. For the past month, they have provided masks and hand sanitizer in an effort to fight the spread of the Coronavirus.
“We had to get together as a community and as a whole and discuss what we thought it be appropriate in terms of what extra things they do not have that the general population does. One of those things was access to bathrooms, showers, and hand washing stations,” says Krystal Fraizer, who is the Interim Coordinator of the City of Sarasota’s Homeless Outreach Team Program (HOT Program).
Local governments have created designated areas for homeless individuals to have access to hygiene stations in both Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“Both of the counties have been doing an amazing job. Our service providers are making sure that they continue to promote social distancing and promote washing hands. The City of Sarasota are keeping up with their hygiene stations. To make sure that people have something to maintain their hygiene. And Manatee County, they provide those as well. The good news is those who are on the street currently who are in homelessness, Have those basic necessities they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Chris Johnson, who is the CEO of The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness.
The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and Sarasota’s HOT Program have also had teams go out into the homeless population in an effort to provide access to COVID-19 testing. According to Frazier, free testing was made available and subsequent services were also made available if needed.