Roughly 150 or so men and women sleep near the Interstate 80 freeway here, sometimes encountering head-to-toe staph infections or families of rats living inside their mattresses. When that happens, they know who to call.
Andrea Henson’s phone has been ringing for weeks, ever since this bustling university town effectively shut down earlier this month to halt the spread of the coronavirus. With local governments slow to house the homeless, activists such as Henson have stepped into the breach, providing food and other supplies to people sleeping on the street.
“This is the first time I’ve heard people say, ‘Andrea, we’re hungry,’” said Henson, who said that in socially conscious Berkeley, donated food is normally never in short supply.