Homeless Trust says 26-year-old man becomes first homeless coronavirus in Miami-Dade

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Slideshow by photo servicesAs Miami-Dade approaches 200 new coronavirus deaths, a 26-year-old man has become the first homeless man in the county to succumb to the disease, reported the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

The man was a resident of the Chapman South Homeless Assistance Center in Homestead. The trust said the man, whom he did not identify, went to Chapman’s health clinic on Friday with a fever.

He was immediately taken to Jackson South where he died a few hours later.

“We are devastated and crushed. I’m so proud of the work we do, which makes this news incredibly difficult to swallow, ”said Ron Book, President of the Homeless Trust, in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go out to the family of this young man, who really lost his son, brother and friend who was homeless first and now to that. “

The Homeless Trust cares for more than 8,000 homeless people and 1,020 other shelters. Seven homeless people tested positive for COVID-19, the trust said.

On Saturday evening, the Florida Department of Health reported 25,492 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state and the death toll at 748. Miami-Dade County reported 9,045 cases and 198 deaths.

As Book highlights the aggressive work that trust does for the homeless, a coalition of advocates has criticized trust for its inaction during the pandemic.

Book has denied the allegations and said that the Homeless Trust has been distributing brochures, masks, hand sanitizer and food for seven weeks now; he has been moving people to hotel rooms for over a month.

“It is obvious from the conditions I have seen from humans living on the streets in Miami-Dade County that we are not prepared and we are not doing enough,” said Armen Henderson, a doctor from the University of Miami who heads the coalition. “We absolutely have to do more. “

Henderson and the coalition, which includes Dream Defenders, the Circle of Brotherhood, the Miami Workers Center and Struggle for Miami’s Affordable and Sustainable Housing, distributed food, tents and toiletries during the pandemic. Organizations also collected swabs and samples from the homeless for testing.

Henderson was recently handcuffed by Miami police for placing used boxes on the sidewalk for pickup outside his home.

The Miami police chief has said the incident will be investigated.

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