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Homeless people in SWFL face risk of COVID-19 with nowhere to go

Pamela Buettner-Pickering is one of an estimated 400 people living on the streets in Lee County.

“I’m trying to keep my chin up and pray for everybody,” said Pickering.

And she is praying extra hard because of the coronavirus.

“Kinda scary. Because you don’t know, you don’t know if that person has it. And then you can’t wash your hands every time you need to,” said Pickering.

The experts continue to tell us staying inside is the best way to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

Being homeless—Buettner-Pickering can’t exactly do that, and shelters aren’t taking in new people.

“It’s not easy…it’s not easy because your heart feels so sympathetic to just want to get out there and say ‘okay come on in. Let me embrace you. Just take me in,” said Rev. Marjoe Wooten of Fort Myers Rescue Mission.

Rev. Wooten is working to keep his 80 plus residents and staff healthy. They’ve cleared out one dorm if they need to isolate anyone who gets sick.

“The homeless population is the most vulnerable people…we care about them because we love them. We want to be able to help them,” Wooten said.

The Lee County Homeless Coalition is working to find hotel rooms… just in case in order to help the homeless stay healthy.

“Help us! Because we need help. We don’t want to be out here but we’re stuck,” Pickering said.

Many if not all of these shelters are still offering food for people… And need your help with donations.

You can find information on how to donate here.

Reporter:Taylor Petras
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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