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Homeless expected to be hit hard by economic fallout of Coronavirus closures

Shelters worry about medical, economic impact on homeless population
Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 21:36:19-04

MESA, AZ — The threat of Coronavirus is especially worrisome for those who serve the homeless community.

FULL COVERAGE: Everything you need to know about coronavirus

Already bursting at the seams, Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) in downtown Phoenix tells ABC15 it is actively searching for an additional facility to separate the most medically fragile.

But another shelter tells ABC15 the thing scaring them more than a coronavirus outbreak is its effect on the economy.

Dave Hughes manages A New Leaf's East Valley Men's Center, and says he's worried the virus is already making and keeping people homeless.

"This morning I just had a gentleman come up to me devastated and said, 'what are we going to do? I just lost both my jobs,'" Hughes tells ABC15.

The shelter works with men experiencing homelessness to get jobs and save enough money for first and last month’s rent.

He says for now, the shelter shelves are stocked with necessities but he's concerned the longer uncertainty around the virus continues, the more dire things will get for folks already on the brink.

"It is critical at this juncture because so many people are unsure about how far spread and how much worse it’s going to get," Hughes said.