City, county leaders partner with businesses to protect homeless during COVID-19

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Wilmington is partnering with a number of organizations to help the at-risk population during COVID-19 pandemic.

Leader have been trying to come up with a plan on how to keep everyone safe right now, including the homeless population.

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“It has to be a ‘no person left behind’ philosophy,” New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Chief Physician Dr. Phil Brown said.

Brown says this is the only way we’re going to conquer this pandemic.

“So this step, which is a remarkable alignment between all the different entities, to keep our entire community safe and to leave no person behind, because in fact there are no expendable people,” he said.



On Monday, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo announced the city, New Hanover County and the United Way of the Cape fear will each contribute $25,000 to help house those at-risk during the pandemic.

“These folks are women who are pregnant, the elderly, people with underlying conditions who we feel need to be housed somewhere during this crisis because of the concern we all have that if any one of these individuals gets it, it could spread through that community and on to the rest of the community very quickly,” Saffo said.

With the help of other business partners, Saffo says they’ve raised $100,000 to put people up in three hotels around the community.

Katrina Knight, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Center says recently, they’ve had 100 people at their shelter.

“We have taken great pains to work on the hygiene needs, and the sanitation, and keeping folks as safe as we know how, achieving social distancing with those kinds of numbers is just not practical,” Knight said.

Knight says this plan will allow people to get the help they need safely.

Saffo says they hope to start moving people into these hotels as early as Tuesday. The locations of the hotels will be kept private for safety reasons.

He also says the county is voting to approve its contribution Monday night.