Phoenix Closes Senior Centers, Suspends Evictions From City-Owned Housing
The city of Phoenix has announced several measures it plans to implement to curb the spread of the coronavirus and promote social distancing.
All public programming in libraries and parks is suspended. All of the city’s senior centers will be closed. Additionally, the city is halting economic evictions in city housing. Mayor Kate Gallego says there’s no estimate on when these services could be re-established.
"We have been talking closely with the Maricopa County Public Health Department," Gallego said. "They tell us we are two to three months from the peak of the virus. As we plan for our city operations, we are trying to keep in mind that we need to make decisions that we want to maintain until after the peak of the virus, so we will continue to evaluate as we get new information."
The homeless population is especially susceptible to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The city of Phoenix has appointed an employee to monitor the needs of the homeless population during the coming weeks.
Washing hands and maintaining a 6-foot distance from sick people is much more difficult for someone living on the street or in a homeless shelter. The declared state of emergency frees up funds to help address the outbreak among Phoenix’s homeless population.
Gallego says the city has appointed a full-time employee to manage the needs of homeless people and the organizations that serve them.
"We have been talking closely with the governor and Maricopa County making sure the homeless community is a priority in our planning," Gallego said. "We think that will be one of our top priorities as we have new money for the emergency declaration."
Phoenix is temporarily suspending evictions from public housing, and Gallego is calling on officials to consider a statewide moratorium on all evictions.