OC Police says getting resources to homeless population has been difficult during COVID, that might get harder in Fall and Winter months
OCEAN CITY, Md.- The coronavirus pandemic has already made things hard for the homeless population in Ocean City, and now as we move into the Fall and Winter months, it’s likely – things are only going to get harder.
“It is uncertain with the pandemic, what are going to be the regulations, a lot of it will come down to the Governor’s regulations,” Ashley Miller, OC Deputy Communications Manager, said.
The Ocean City Police had their monthly commission meeting earlier this week where they discussed the recent challenges in getting the homeless population resources during the pandemic.
They said the Worcester County Homeless Outreach Team has not been able to help in all the same ways as they did pre-COVID.
“They have not been able to conduct on street outreach, so that was one of the resources we had available that was going out on a regular basis, meeting with our homeless,” Ashley Miller, said.
Despite this, the police department and other organizations said they have tried to communicate with the homeless in other ways, and they plan on continuing to do so.
“We get to know them as people and that way we know how can we get them the resources, what type of resources do they need,” Ashley Miller, said.
One of the organizations that is trying to help the homeless during this time is the Diakonia Shelter in West Ocean City, but they said current restrictions are making things more difficult.
“Some of the changes have continued to be some of the limited space that we can have that will allow for the social distancing, we can only fill up to 75 percent,” Bee Miller, Executive Director of Diakonia, said.
And although they said they don’t know how the pandemic will shake out in the Fall and Winter months, they are still going to do whatever it takes to connect the homeless with the resources they need.
“Groups that normally do the food drive are going to continue to do that this Fall, so I’m very thankful for that,” Bee Miller, said. “There’s definitely a need for a space for homeless families, and we’re still continuing to look for landlords or even housing options for them as well.”
I am told in previous years faith based organizations would open up a shelter during the colder months, but it is uncertain if that will be able to continue due to COVID-19.
Diakonia said they are looking for volunteers right now, so anyone willing to help can give them a call at (410) 213-0923.
We are told the town of Ocean City is currently looking at installing lights at bus stops to deter people from sleeping there.