Concerns abound for Milwaukee's homeless amid coronavirus: 'Don't have a lot of places to go'

MILWAUKEE -- Amid concerns about COVID-19, experts stressed the importance of frequent and thorough hand washing, but what about those without access to a bathroom? Those at Repairers of the Breach outlined steps taken to protect the vulnerable homeless population.

James West

"When you sign in to come in the door, you must use sanitizer," said James West, executive director of Repairers of the Breach.

New cleaning rules were implemented at the shelter in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

When you don't have a place to sleep, it also means a bathroom becomes a privilege.

"When you're homeless, you don't have a lot of places to go to take showers, and wash your hands, and clean up," said Darell Love, client.

Repairers of the Breach

Shelter leaders noted staffing issues complicating matters -- with many of their regular student volunteers unavailable.

"With the institutions closing down, that leaves us without the nursing students, and those students helping us out to serve our populations," said West. "It's a great concern."

Governor Tony Evers echoed the concern for the homeless population.

Repairers of the Breach

"Our team will continue to work with our local partners throughout the state to ensure that we are able to support those folks who need our help," said Evers.

"Everybody's willing to pitch in and do what we can do, so we're just hoping that we can be unified in this effort to keep people safe until we see which direction this is going in," said West.

Officials with the Housing Task Force met Monday, March 16 to discuss a plan for shelters moving forward.