Phoenix nonprofit working to protect homeless during coronavirus outbreak
PHOENIX — A local nonprofit is working to keep the homeless healthy and equipped during the coronavirus outbreak in Phoenix.
In partnership with the city of Phoenix, Circle the City received 500 masks from Mayor Kate Gallego’s office to be handed out to the homeless population as the city’s new mandatory mask policy took effect.
Circle the City offers healthcare services for the homeless. Its care includes a recuperative medical respite model where individuals who are too vulnerable to be on the streets are given a safe place to heal and get back on their feet.
With five locations throughout Phoenix, their care goes beyond their facilities with mobile care units and dedicated volunteers. All of which are now in very high demand as coronavirus continues to spread within Maricopa County.
Since the pandemic began, the nonprofit has pivoted some of its normal services in efforts to meet the needs of the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak.
Within their 50 bed respite centers, Circle the City has allocated beds as “isolation beds” while treating COVID-19 positive homeless individuals. The nonprofit is also offering coronavirus testing for their patients.
But in efforts to help slow the spread they’re working to get preventive measures on the streets.
“What we are doing now, we are adding masks to our hygiene bags that we normally give to any patient that walks into our clinics, any individual facing homelessness who needs a mask we will give them one,” Marty Hames, a community liaison with Circle the City, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.
In addition to a mask, the hygiene bags contain items like; hand sanitizer, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, a water bottle and nonperishable foods. The bags are often comprised of donations and constructed by volunteers.
The hygiene bags are handed out both inside Circle the City’s clinics and out on the streets in Phoenix with their mobile care unit.
Staying home, washing hands, & wearing masks slows the spread of #COVID19. But what about those who don’t have a home? @CircletheCityAZ is doing everything they can to get masks and hygiene kits to those battling homelessness in the @CityofPhoenixAZ. Full story Tues. on @KTAR923! pic.twitter.com/EFNVo91gde
— Ali Vetnar (@Ali_Vetnar) June 22, 2020
Donations are being accepted to help create hygiene bags. The two most-needed items are face masks and hand sanitizer.
“We can’t obtain our mission without the community,” Hames added. “If people have hand sanitizer or if someone is making masks at home – please let us know because when those donations come in, the very next day they are in the hands of people who need it the most.”
To learn more about making a donation and volunteer opportunities, visit Circle the City’s website.