ORLANDO, Fla. – Monday, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Orlando City Commissioners approved $95,000 to expand shelter space for homeless residents at the Salvation Army. City leaders said it's also a push to give them somewhere to go and to better promote social distancing throughout the city.
A tent has been set up outside the Salvation Army off of Colonial Drive to house an additional 50 homeless residents in need.
The approved funding is also being used to provide those in need with three meals per day, showers, security, monitoring, waste management, restrooms and more.
"That relates to our most vulnerable citizens, and that is our homeless individuals. So we’re partnering with The Salvation Army," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
The tent outside the Salvation Army is for men only, but next door, there have already been overnight shelters in place for men, women and kids.
Orlando commissioners also met Monday discuss these services that they say are vital.
Commissioner Regina Hill said she’s pushing for all of the residents at the tent to be tested for coronavirus, and said she believes everyone should have access to a face covering and hand sanitizer.
“I want to make sure that we take strict precautions because they are a vulnerable community also, and [they] probably have some underlying health problems,” Hill said.
The funding is being drawn from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency Fund.
In addition, the city of Orlando is also working on a separate initiative with Orange County leaders to house homeless residents in a hotel space that will act as an isolation recovery center. That service would be operated by the Homeless Services Network.