Local homeless advocates concerned about lack of testing in community

Local News
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Loaves and Fishes calls itself an oasis for the homeless community and they say they’re seeing more hungry mouths than normal. 

“We have seen about a 20% increase over what we normally would serve,” Advocacy Director Joe Smith told FOX40. 

Smith said that is due in part to other places, like churches, that often feed the homeless having closed their doors. 

“So, those folks have to eat and often times we are the only game in town,” said Smith. 

Being one of the few places in town means thousands of meals a day come from Loaves and Fishes. 

Besides being able to feed people, another concern Smith has is testing the homeless for the novel coronavirus. 

While local officials are helping find and isolate those with, suspected of or vulnerable to the coronavirus in trailers at Cal Expo or at a local motel, Smith said what he wants to see is testing available for the homeless who are not showing symptoms. 

“You move in a community as kind of a pack or kind of a herd,” said Smith. 

For Smith, testing all homeless is the best way to keep them and everyone else safe. 

“You utilize the same cooking utensils. You utilize the same drinking containers. Everything about what you do is a communal event and that’s how this thing spread,” explained Smith. 

Cities like Los Angeles have tested their homeless population along the infamous Skid Row. Smith wants something similar to what Los Angeles has done and while he commends the efforts of local officials, he believes there is always room to grow. 

“We can do better. I’ve heard every politician in town say that. We can do better and we can do better right now,” said Smith. 

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