ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News exposed video of hundreds of homeless people sleeping inside the airport. Now, our investigation is leading to new changes, so it does not become a coronavirus hot spot.
Channel 2’ Dave Huddleston learned about the concrete plan set in place to help the homeless and make sure the airport is clean for the general public.
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Atlanta City Councilman Antonio Brown went to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport overnight and saw the homeless problem firsthand.
“It was disheartening. It truly was disheartening,” Brown told Huddleston Thursday.
Pictures sent to Huddleston by an airport worker show hundreds of homeless people sleeping at the airport.
“To hear their stories was really sad, because some had lost their jobs, some were down on their luck before COVID-19 hit,” Brown said.
Brown says letting them stay at the airport is not an option. He showed Huddleston a 5-step plan to move them to shelters.
A big change: unless you’re traveling or working, no visitors will be allowed at the airport after 6 p.m.
“It’s going to give them time to get back on the train and be able to move into whatever emergency situation they need to be in,” Brown said.
A Channel 2 photographer took pictures of the airport's atrium, where no more seats and barriers have been put up.
Brown says he also ordered 4,000 masks and gloves for the homeless.
“Because what’s happening is we potentially put safety workers, airport employees, airline employees, in jeopardy, because we haven’t started testing at the airport yet,” Brown said.
Another part of the plan is services, helping the unsheltered get back on their feet and making sure the airport is sanitized and ready for the public.
“It’s definitely safe to go to the airport. The (general manager) is doing an incredible job to make sure the airport remains sanitized,” Brown said.
Brown says full council should vote on the 60-day, 5-point plan Monday. The city has also allocated $1.5 million to house the homeless.
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