Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on plans to house homeless Californians during the coronavirus outbreak:
“We can’t forget about California’s homeless population as the coronavirus spreads. California is home to 108,000 individuals with no shelter, many in close contact with each other or with chronic illnesses that make them more likely to contract the coronavirus and feel its effects more acutely.
“I support Governor Newsom’s steps to move homeless individuals indoors. Using hotels, motels and trailers to house the homeless will help limit the spread of the virus. Cities and counties are also stepping up to provide housing, increase sanitary conditions and provide additional health care.
“The governor said his goal is to ‘get people out of encampments and into environments where we can address their growing anxiety and our growing concern.’ He’s absolutely right. We have to ensure this vulnerable population receives the care it needs.
“Governor Newsom also signed an executive order giving local governments the authority to stop evictions. Today, Senator Sherrod Brown and I called on the National Sheriff’s Association to impose a moratorium on enforcing home evictions during the crisis. Keeping roofs over people’s heads is vital to slow this virus down and keep people safe.
“We should consider other steps. States need maximum flexibility to use existing federal funds, including Medicaid, to fight this pandemic. And we should consider using federal resources to expand health care capacity, increase shelter beds, provide case management services for at-risk populations and repurpose or build temporary housing and medical facilities.
“We need all hands on deck to fight this virus, and I stand ready to help the administration and state and local governments in any way I can.”