According to numbers obtained through a public records request, so far, during the pandemic, Guilford County government has spent over a quarter of a million dollars to put 370 homeless people up at hotels.
While those homeless men and women are guests of the county, the county is paying for things like room service and meals.
The program, which began near the start of the pandemic, was created so that the county would have an option for isolating homeless residents in case they tested positive for COVID-19 or showed signs that they might have it.
County officials have been especially concerned about the potential of the disease spreading throughout the homeless community because homeless people may be less likely to follow social distancing practices, less likely to have access to gloves and masks, and the homeless population is often unhealthy due to malnourishment or an inability to afford proper medical care – which places them in a high-risk group.
Guilford County provided the following information to the Rhino Times on Friday, Sept. 4: “We have housed 370 unduplicated guests in hotels to date, who qualify for the housing support program for the homeless, as they complete their isolation/quarantine requirements. The County has incurred $248,252.50 in hotel room costs to date; with an additional invoice of $21,309.75 to be paid in next week’s check run.”
According to county officials, Guilford County has spent $6,475 for meals to feed the homeless in the hotels. That means on average, the county has spent about $17 per person on meals for the 370 homeless people.
The county has also provided some security for those being kept at hotels. Ostensibly, that’s to help protect the COVID-positive guests, but, of course, another reason for county security at the hotels is to discourage the infected homeless from leaving and going somewhere where they could infect others.