Coronavirus News: Homeless, addicted and battling COVID-19 - Eva's Village in New Jersey

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten lives, but Eva's Village in Paterson, New Jersey has adjusted their facilities to treat patients, who in addition to homelessness and addiction are also battling with coronavirus.

"None of these patients have a home. They are homeless, they're in a halfway house, in a homeless shelter; I can't send them home and I can't tell them to go anywhere," said Dr. Murtuza Tameem, a hospitalist at St. Joseph's Health who also works at Eva's Village providing medical care.

Managing their limited resources while mitigating their patient's symptoms are not the only challenges faced by Dr. Tameem and the staff at Eva's Village.

"A vast majority of my patients have diabetes, blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and along with that substance use disorders, liver cirrhosis, hepatic failure, renal failure and given that they are at such a high risk for deterioration I have to be careful with them," said Dr. Tameem.

In addition to the pre-existing conditions of his patients, Dr. Tameem has had to adjust the medication plans for substance use and switch it to oral medications.

According to Daniel Renaldo, CEO of Eva's Village, the organization began strategizing their efforts to combat this crisis back in January, but even that hasn't been enough.

"While we feel like we were ready, none of us, as you know, worldwide was ready for this. We need funding, the government is helping, private funders are helping, but we need funding," said Renaldo.

Despite the ongoing crisis, Dr. Tameem and the staff at Eva's Village are encouraged by the resilience shown by their patients, who have battled through homelessness, addiction and mental illness.

"We are only as strong as the community, the country, and the weakest among us and we are just a facilitator of that help," said Dr. Tameem.


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