The streets of downtown Harrisburg are largely empty, and most buildings are locked up.
While this means no restaurant or bar patrons for businesses, it means something else very important–nowhere for the city’s under-housed and transient community to wash up or use a bathroom.
Therefore, two downtown organizations are teaming up to provide comfort stations for homeless men and women to use.
On Saturday, Harristown Enterprises and the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District will install comfort stations consisting of four Port-a-Potties and two wash stations. They will be located in the plaza area adjacent to the escalators at the 333 Market Street office building, according to Harristown.
“We are all facing challenges in this situation that are new to us,” said Harristown CEO Brad Jones. “We thought this would be a positive way to try to help people in need during this difficult time.”
Jones said that he hoped the comfort stations would help in two principal ways. First, they will provide support for the transient population that often relies on facilities in buildings that are now closed. And, secondly, they might help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus by allowing people to wash up.
The stations will remain in place for at least two weeks, Jones said. Afterwards, the partners will determine, based on public health recommendations, whether to extend the service, he said.
For similar reasons, the city recently set up portable sinks in two city facilities–Riverfront Park and Reservoir Park.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our residents, especially the elderly and most vulnerable,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse, in announcing installation of the sinks earlier this week.
For more ways to assist the homeless population in the Harrisburg area, please read our feature story from our March issue.