"It takes a village": Helping seniors in New York during COVID-19

United States 2020 © Melissa Pracht/MSF

Elderly and homeless people are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 in New York City and around the world. During the pandemic, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has worked with Project FIND, an elder services agency in New York that provides housing and social services to older adults.

MSF supported Project FIND’s efforts to keep their facilities safe from the coronavirus. The organization runs three residential buildings and four senior centers in the city, manages a homeless in-reach program with shower services, and provides case management services, including psychiatric and medical care. These services have continued throughout the pandemic—and are now more important than ever. "We don't always know who is homeless. And part of that is because they have access to services like this," says Mark Jennings, associate executive director of Project FIND. "For them to have dignity and to have work. Being able to take a shower in the morning—so that when I do sit on the train, people don't run away from me. And people treat me as if I exist, that I'm not invisible. That's why they come here."