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Detroit takes steps to respond to COVID-19 challenges

City of Detroit

Detroit is checking the city’s homeless population for signs of the coronavirus.

Michigan’s largest city has an estimated 2,200 homeless men, women and children. City officials say about a thousand can usually be found in the city’s shelters.

Denise Fair is Detroit’s health department director. She says the city is trying to improve conditions for Detroit’s homeless, beyond giving them a place to hand their hands.

Fair says the city will try to provide the homeless with “resources to manage their symptoms and better yet get the care they need.”

Statewide, advocates for Michigan’s homeless are worried about coronavirus.

Eric Hufnagel is the executive director of the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. He says the homeless can’t self-isolate and often must stay in crowded shelters.

Detroit’s mayor is also worried about the city’s restaurants that have had to close their doors to customers. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is encouraging city residents to order food from city restaurants for lunch or dinner.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a sweeping order banning dine-in customers at restaurants, along with closing other businesses, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“I hope members of the public will frequent your favorite restaurant and come get carry out, even if you can’t sit down inside,” says Duggan.

The city of Detroit is loosening rules on parking in front of restaurants to encourage more take-out orders.

Tuesday, the city is expected to lay out plans to providing meals to Detroit school children.   The governor ordered K-12 schools across Michigan closed as another step to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

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