With mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus among the city’s homeless population, the city of New Orleans health and safety officials, along with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, conducted clean-up of homeless encampments on Thursday (March 26), while temporarily transferring homeless residents to an alternative location as part of city and state efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As part of the cleanup, staff from the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite & Rodent Control Board will apply chemicals to the area to prevent any rodent infestation. 

New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and the Office of Community and Economic Development coordinated the cleanup and transfer efforts with assistance from several other agencies, including homeless units of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services and New Orleans Police Department, Sanitation, and Code Enforcement.

The Regional Transit Authority was on hand with buses to take homeless residents to a temporarily closed hotel in the Central Business District, according to media reports.

Other hotels, many of which are nearly vacant as the tourism industry comes to a grinding halt amid the growing coronavirus crisis, are also slated to be used to house the homeless for at least one month, with the effort likely funded by a combination of city, state and federal dollars.

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