Richmond homeless shelter sees 40 percent jump during COVID-19 pandemic

'As the pandemic lingers... people will be in even more difficult situations.'
Posted at 12:28 AM, Apr 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 00:28:29-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Many organizations in the greater Richmond region are partnering together to help the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeward is leading the charge.

The nonprofit's Executive Director Kelly King Horne says the need for care is growing.

“On any given day, it's probably close to 500 households who are in a shelter or similar situation, which is up from 330 before the crisis. We know that there are still people on the street,” Horne said.

Horne says the organization began receiving an increase in calls after Virginia’s stay-at-home order.

“People were losing their jobs like almost immediately with this crisis, so the first few weeks people were calling, just sort of preparing and trying to find out what was available. And, as the pandemic lingers over time, I think people will be in even more difficult situations,” she said.

Horne says shelters have been working to expand services to people in need, and they’ve been taking extra precautions to keep people safe.

“They’ve increased the distance between beds, also, some of them have alternated, you know, some people with heads at this end, and feet at this end.”

She says they haven’t seen many cases of the coronavirus, but they are watching closely for any signs or symptoms.

“There have not been many positive cases yet. And I think it's because we mitigated some risk early on, but the number will grow unfortunately as it grows in the community,” she said.

Click here if you need help, or you’d like to offer help visit.