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Fort Worth urges people to help stop COVID-19 spread to the homeless population

Instead of handing food to those experiencing homelessness, the City of Fort Worth asks people to donate to designated shelters that feed and house those in need.

FORT WORTH, Texas — For the first time, the City of Fort Worth is under a "stay at home" order.

"It's a historical time," said Austin Hurley, a code compliance officer and consumer health specialist with the city.

This is why, for the first time, Hurley is posting signs in East Fort Worth near Interstate 35 and Lancaster Avenue.

The signs read:

"COVID-19 ALERT
NO gatherings!
Protect yourself!
NO meal service from vehicles!" 

In Fort Worth, it is illegal for people to make food from their homes and serve it from their vehicles to the homeless population. The city plans to enforce this rule during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hurley understands people have good intentions when they hand off food for those in need, but says it is not the safe way to do it. With these signs, he hopes it will help prevent gatherings and encourage social distancing.

"We want to make sure that people experiencing homelessness don't contract COVID-19 or food poisoning," said Hurley.

He wants people to know there are legal options in the neighborhood to make sure no one goes hungry. 

Presbyterian Night Shelter, Union Gospel Mission and The Salvation Army are all nonprofit organizations with permitted kitchens, where people can sleep and eat three meals a day. 

Hurley also confirmed that during the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Fort Worth Convention Center is being used as an overflow shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

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