Amato Calls For Shelter Social Distancing

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Assemblywoman Stacey Amato introduced a bill which would amend the social services law requiring any homeless shelter residence in New York State to comply with the social distancing regulations for prevention of the COVID-19 virus.

Amato introduced the bill after concerns were raised about the dormitory style housing within the shelters leaving residents vulnerable to contracting illnesses such as COVID-19 and spreading throughout the shelter, to employees, and surrounding communities. The bill proposed would require shelters to convert their living spaces such that they can adhere to social distancing protocols to ensure that residents are protected from the current threat of the COVID-19 virus and other easily communicable illnesses moving forward.

In May, all of the men who had been staying at a homeless shelter on Beach 101st Street were relocated to a commercial hotel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, thousands of New Yorkers in the homeless shelter system are being removed from their shelters and into commercial hotels to ensure that they can maintain social distancing-However, this cannot last forever and we need a plan going forward to keep these individuals safe,” Amato said. “If the residents are sent back to shelters that use dormitory style housing and do not provide six feet of distance between each bed, then we are not only putting the residents in danger of contracting and spreading illnesses but also the surrounding communities. This legislation ensures that the shelters are keeping the residents, workers, and surrounding communities safe now and moving.”

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