Jersey City expands services for the homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

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As the severity of the coronavirus epidemic continues to have an impact worldwide, Jersey City officials today announced new measures to ensure that the city’s homeless population has additional amenities available to them during this public health emergency.

The new measures include the expansion of the city’s mobile shower services, which started in November, and will now be available to the homeless population in the mornings between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. – Monday through Friday.

Additionally, city officials distributed shopping bags, filled with hygiene kits and ready to eat meals, members of the homeless community who were in attendance for the press conference.

“We have witnessed how COVID-19 has had a devastating impact around the world on all of us, but when you think of those who have the least in society, they are even more vulnerable during this crisis,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

“We all are pulling together to normalize our lives in this unprecedented challenge of our times, but the only way we will succeed is if we look out for those who need help the most, and leave no one behind,” added Fulop.

In addition, the city’s director of Health and Human Services, Stacey Flanagan, worked with Hudson County officials to secure three local hotels to house up to potentially 200 homeless people so that they can self-quarantine in the midst of coronavirus concerns.

In an interview, she talked a little bit about the outreach that the city has conducted with the homeless to ensure that they know about the expansion of the mobile shower services.

She noted that the city has deployed a team and a researcher since October, located at 270 Magnolia Ave., where one of the mobile shower services is set up to engage the homeless.

“We conducted some research, we had a researcher come work with us who talked to the homeless to learn about some of their needs and the team learned that they just wanted a place to sit and a place to take a nice, warm shower,” Flanagan told HCV.

Officials also indicated that HHS staff working and assisting the homeless at the bath trailers are following strict U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines, using gloves and all necessary garmenting/equipment to safeguardĀ  from any potential viral exposure.

Furthermore, the staff is trained to OSHA standards and each shower is fully cleaned and disinfected after each use.