Hand-washing stations arrive for Sacramento’s homeless

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, many are worried about those who are most vulnerable — including the homeless. 

One homeless person died in Santa Clara County from the virus on Monday. 

In Sacramento, hand-washing stations are starting to go up near homeless camps — but dirty hands are not the only issue facing the homeless during this pandemic. 

“Some people don’t like washing their hands,” Donald Miller, who is homeless, told FOX40. “But me, I like washing mine every day. If I have to, I’ll do it all day.” 

That’s why weeks ago, as the COVID-19 virus was starting to spread across the globe, Crystal Sanchez, president of the Sacramento chapter of the National Homeless Union, began fundraising for hand-washing stations. 

Tuesday, they arrived all over the city. 

“We have six locations, five in each location,” Sanchez said. 

To keep the sinks themselves clean, they will be replaced once a week and restocked with new soap, water and paper towels.

But Sanchez says the pandemic is creating another problem. 

With fast-food restaurants closing dining areas and only to-go orders being offered elsewhere, the homeless are running out of places to buy ready-to-eat meals. Homeless advocates are asking the public to continue donating to food banks.

“Places like Loaves and Fishes are now closing at noon, so access to food right now is really becoming hard,” Sanchez said.

Many within the homeless community are extremely worried.

“I know someone is going to get sick because there’s already people in the Bay Area sick,” Lee, who is homeless, said.  

For now, Miller says he’s going to help maintain the sinks so they don’t get trashed.

“Because some people, they be doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “So I’m going to be making sure it don’t happen.” 

He hopes, if nothing else, this pandemic will kickstart more efforts to get people living on the streets, like himself, inside. 

“That’s the main goal, housing. That’s one thing I want, housing. Me and my fiancée, we’re trying to get in,” he said.

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