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San Diego Homeless Shelters In ‘Desperate’ Mode Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Inside the new Alpha Project homeless shelter, Oct. 5, 2019.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Inside the new Alpha Project homeless shelter, Oct. 5, 2019.

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Bob McElroy, president and CEO of Alpha Project, says the nonprofit will only admit new homeless individuals into its two tent bridge shelters on a "case by case" basis. He ... Read more →

Aired: March 18, 2020 | Transcript

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting San Diego's homeless shelters.

Father Joe’s Villages announced Wednesday it has stopped allowing new intakes at its interim and bridge shelters to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Bob McElroy, president and CEO of Alpha Project, said the nonprofit will only admit new homeless individuals on a "case by case" basis. He also said a homeless individual at one of its shelters was taken to a hospital with coronavirus-like symptoms and is awaiting test results.

Alpha Project operates two tent bridge shelters with more than 400 homeless people combined.

"The facilities we have, it's impossible to do the social distancing because we're only 24 inches away from each other in the Bridge One facility and three feet away from each other at the Bridge Two facility. But we're doing the hand washing and wearing gloves, some people have gloves. We're saying our prayers that we don't have a positive (coronavirus case). If it hits us it's not going to be good," McElroy said.

McElroy also said Alpha Project has run out of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at their tent shelters. He joined Midday Edition Wednesday to talk about how the outbreak is impacting San Diego's homeless community.

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