Photos: COVID-19 poses new threat to Imperial County’s homeless

Imperial County’s homeless population totals just over 1,400 based on a count last year, and fewer than 200 of those in the tally had any kind of shelter. With the new threat of COVID-19, nonprofit leaders and others in the county worry the virus could easily spread through the homeless community

That’s why Maribel Padilla, co-founder of the Brown Bag Coalition, pushed county officials to provide portable hand-washing stations at Calexico’s Border Friendship Park, where her group serves nightly meals to the homeless. She and other volunteers say maintaining basic hygiene is still a struggle for the many homeless who have nowhere to shelter.

These photos taken in Calexico on Tuesday capture how the area's homeless are being helped.

Peter Sanchez, a Navy veteran from Calexico, cleans his hands with wipes handed out by the Brown Bag Coalition at Calexico's Border Friendship Park, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Volunteers from the Brown Bag Coalition hand out meals at Calexico's Border Friendship Park, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Jesse Reyes sits at Calexico's Border Friendship Park during the Brown Bag Coalition's nightly dinner, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A storage room used by the Brown Bag Coalition in Calexico is shown on April 21, 2020. Due to the building's condition, the room can only be used to store items rather than provide other services. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Empty streets in downtown Calexico are shown during the COVID-19 pandemic, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

The only emergency homeless shelter in Calexico, which is run by Catholic Charities, is shown on April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

The dining area at the emergency homeless shelter in Calexico is shown on April 21, 2020. Catholic Charities operates the shelter. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Volunteer Idalia Borquez hands out meals at Calexico's Border Friendship Park, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A man pulls out a mask given to him by volunteers at Calexico's Border Friendship Park, April 21, 2020. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

A man walks away from a hand-washing station at Calexico's Border Friendship Park, April 21, 2020. The portable stations are brought to the park every evening during the Brown Bag Coalition's dinner handouts. (Zoë Meyers/inewsource)

Related:


Photos April 13: City Heights healthcare clinic adapts during COVID-19 pandemic At La Maestra Community Health Centers’ facility in City Heights, the clinic has limited the services it provides in person, but it remains open to serve its patients whose incomes are at or below poverty level.

Photos April 6: Coronavirus brings San Diego a week of isolation in the rain Photos from our work the past week show how property owners, renters and healthcare workers are all facing new challenges from the pandemic.

Photos March 30: COVID-19 transforms life in San Diego This is the third week of us bringing you scenes of San Diego County as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The photos show everything from how a liquor store owner is trying to protect himself from the coronavirus to life in a retirement community.

Photos March 16: How coronavirus has changed life in San Diego The coronavirus has dramatically changed life in the San Diego region. From city council meetings to closed schoolyards, photojournalist Zoë Meyers has been capturing news and events that show how our community has been transformed.

Photos March 23: Life in San Diego amidst coronavirus As the San Diego region adapts to life under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay at home order, the changes can be seen everywhere, from our public spaces to our local businesses.
shadow-ornament

We'll let you know when big things happen.

About Zoë Meyers:

Zoë Meyers
Zoë Meyers is a photo and video journalist at inewsource. To contact her with tips, suggestions or corrections, please email zoemeyers [at] inewsource [dot] org.