San Francisco continues to struggle with an influx of homeless people during the COVID-19 crisis, amid reports that some are heading to the city from other areas in order to take advantage of emergency housing.

The city's fire chief, Jeanine Nicholson, said on Tuesday that people were coming who have been "released from northern Californian jails" and "all over the place."

"They come here because they believe they can get a tent and they can get in the system to get housing. And so it's really a burden on our system that is already taxed," added Nicholson.

A local charity, the St. Anthony's Foundation, has also been feeding more people amid the COVID crisis, according to Suzie Sheedy, the development director of the NGO's dining room.

"We are definitely seeing an influx of people using our services," said Sheedy, adding "Before COVID-19 we were seeing on average about 2,300 people a day, and now we are seeing on average about 3,300 even up to 3,800 people a day."

The city has rented thousands of vacant hotel rooms to provide emergency housing for the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak and, while the rooms are limited to those who were already in the city's system beforehand, people from other areas have been arriving in San Francisco to try to be housed too.

California has over 55,200 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 2,360 related deaths as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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