For Immediate Release
June 7, 2020
Indianapolis – In response to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the homeless population, the Marion County Public Health Department, Minority Contractors Collaboration, Greater Anointing Fellowship COGIC, the Minority Health Coalition of Marion County, Indiana Black Caucus, Indianapolis Urban League, along with City and State officials, and Community and Faith-Based Organizations will provide free information, clothing, books and referrals to health services to those in need.
“Looking After the Homeless” will take place on Sunday, June 7th from 2-5 p.m. at 202 N. Alabama Street (behind Wheeler Mission on Delaware Street.)
Free clothing, shoes, personal hygiene kits with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, wash towels, underwear, socks, Vera Bradley bags, face coverings, and hand sanitizers will be given. Free books will be provided by Indianapolis Library Services. Referrals to health services is being provided by a number of community organizations who have stepped up to help those who are less fortunate at a time when COVID-19 posed a new threat to those who have poor access to food, shelter, and basic hygiene.
“The homeless have been hit the hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Virginia A. Caine, MD, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Protecting people experiencing homelessness is critical, containing the spread of COVID 19, and preventing morbidity and mortality is huge in keeping our residents safe.”
We have all heard the warnings, practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible. But for the approximately 1500 homeless persons in Indianapolis, the spread of COVID-19 presents a uniquely grave threat. For these persons, calls to remain home are impossible to heed.
“The needs of the homeless – shelter, food and mental health assistance – have not changed during this time of crisis,” said Vop Osili, president of the City-County Council. “The current lack of people moving about the city in fact makes it more difficult for the homeless to obtain money or food.”
“You see some things that you really do not want to see, a man on a street corner in a wheelchair with a sign that says, “Need Money and Medicine. Please help me.” said Antonio Lipscomb, president, Minority Contractors Collaboration and chief architect of this initiative long with Dr. Lionel T. Rush, senior pastor of Greater Anointing Fellowship COGIC.
“Shelters in the city were already affected by overcrowding, and only grew worse as more people were seeking housing,” said Dr. Lionel T. Rush, “There were far too many homeless people on the streets and in shelters three months ago, and we hadn’t even heard the word ‘coronavirus’.” Both felt the strong need with their many Faith-Based and civic partners to end the homelessness in Marion County.
“It’s very simple. People do better when they are stabilized in housing as soon as possible,” said Robin Shackleford,” chair of the Indiana Black Caucus. “As policy makers, a major goal is to make affordable housing available to all those in need.”
These partners with our shelters realize that the health challenges and underlying medical conditions among many homeless people in the city, including blood disorders, advanced age and heart and lung disease, have made them acutely vulnerable to COVID-19.
MEDIA NOTE: Speakers will make comments at 2:45 pm at the location.