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Groups work to aid Palm Beach County homeless amid coronavirus pandemic

Homeless camp at John Prince Park
Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 25, 2020

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Lacking food, shelter and work, one of the most vulnerable populations during this global coronavirus pandemic are the homeless.

At John Prince Park near Lake Worth Beach, the homeless community is nervous and scared.

“Little by little, every single month you start seeing more people gradually come.”

Now, more than hundred homeless people are living in tents with little to no resources surrounded by a global pandemic.

Francky Pierre-Paul, the founder of a Different Shade of Love, has been a consistent face for the people living in “tent city.”

“Yesterday I had a homeless neighbor come to me and say, ‘hey can I have a whole box of pizza because we don’t know when we are going to get fed again,” said Pierre-Paul.

COVID-19 has caused some non-profits to change their operations.

Diana Stanley the CEO of the Lord’s Place says half of her staff is working remotely. She says they bought some of their homeless clients cellphones to be able to stay in contact with them.

The county’s community services team says they are still working on the emergency shelter at the fairgrounds. However, now they are also trying to implement CDC recommendations at John Prince Park.

“We are putting provisions in place to make sure they have portable stations where they can wash their hands and have sanitizers. We are putting signs up to make sure they understand how to practice social distancing,” said community services director James Green.

The county says they hope to have showers installed within the next two weeks. They are also looking to partner with motels and hotels to prepare isolation options for people in need of shelter.

Pierre-Paul says he is accepting donations to continue feeding people in need.

"This is the time where we all can pull together,” said Pierre-Paul.