Hennepin Co. moves 130 homeless into hotels over coronavirus concerns

Communities across the world are making similar moves.
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Minnesota's most populous county is taking steps to protect a group at heightened risk of contracting the coronavirus: the homeless.

On Saturday, Hennepin County announced that it's moved 130 people experiencing homelessness into "alternate living arrangements" at local hotels.

The people being housed include those with underlying health conditions (which can pose a risk for serious illness among those who contract the virus) and four individuals showing flu-like symptoms. 

The latter, along with one person who has tested positive for COVID-19, have been moved to "separate living spaces." 

Funding for the operation comes from the county board, which on Tuesday voted to approve $3 million to "secure alternative accommodations for high-risk individuals."

Similar moves are being made across the U.S. and around the world, as homeless are especially vulnerable to coronavirus due to "lack of stable shelter, access to proper hygiene, and basic food supplies," Vox notes

This past week, San Francisco placed four COVID-19-positive homeless people in local hotels, with a Human Services Agency official telling ABC 7 that "this will be a very common occurrence."

Meanwhile, Chicago is considering putting up members of its homeless population in hotels during the crisis as well, while the United Kingdom is now converting hotels and office spaces into emergency housing for the same purposes.

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