BronxWorks helps more than 1,200 homeless New Yorkers a month get help amid pandemic

While New York City remains on pause, many continue to work to protect the health of those living on the streets and in homeless shelter.

News 12 Staff

May 20, 2020, 5:34 PM

Updated 1,458 days ago

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While New York City remains on pause, many continue to work to protect the health of those living on the streets and in homeless shelter.
Every month, more than 1,200 of the Bronx's most vulnerable are connected to help through Bronxworks.
During the coronavirus pandemic, staff is working to stop the spread among those who can't stay home, because they don't have one.
"We are bringing to them all the PPE we can hand out, and we're giving it out to folks who live on the street and such," says Noel Concepcion, director of adult homeless services at Bronxworks.
City data shows those experiencing "very high poverty" have a COVID-19 death rate that's more than double that of those living in "low poverty." Bronxworks outreach teams say they focus their efforts on those they see on the streets, even bringing a doctor to them in a medical outreach van.
Concepcion says the number of clients the organization serves hasn't really changed during the pandemic. He says to keep them safe they’re cutting back on the open floor plan at drop-in centers in favor of expanding safe haven shelters with single and double occupancy rooms.
“We were able to move a number of people out of our drop-in center and into those safe haven beds to alleviate the crowding,” says Concepcion.
If a client has COVID-19 symptoms, they're moved to an isolation site with help from the city.
Concepcion says Bronxworks is also working with city officials to get more beds at its safe haven shelters moving forward.
“From all the different program models that is the one where we can probably provide the safest shelter setting for them so we're in the process of getting more beds for our clients,” says Concepcion.
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