The homeless population in New Orleans is getting some respite in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. On Thursday, reports that homeless citizens were picked up by a city bus, with their possessions, and taken to an empty downtown hotel for shelter.

At least one homeless person has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said they will reimburse the city for costs to bring the homeless to hotel shelter during the crisis. They will be housed in single occupancy rooms with beds, bathrooms, and given three meals a day.

The Hilton Garden Inn on Gravier Street is temporarily empty, and is being used for the shelter. It's not clear how many citizens were taken to the hotel, but is saying dozens. Martha Kegel, executive director of Unity of Greater New Orleans, a homeless services organization, says how grateful she is for the gesture. “This is a wonderfully compassionate thing the city and state are doing, I literally have tears in my eyes.”

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