20 in 2020: People We’re Thankful For – Paramedic Amber Price Cares for Austin’s Most Vulnerable Populations – Features

Amber price (Photo by John Anderson)

Driving downtown on March 18th was a surreal experience for Amber Price. The day before, Mayor Steve Adler ordered most businesses in the city to close to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the streets were deserted with the exception of people who were homeless and had nowhere else to go. But that’s why Price was down there; She is a paramedic with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services who serves on the Homeless Outreach Street team. While there, she provides a range of health, case management, and other services for the unresident of Austin.

As she spoke to people on the street, she noticed a sense of panic resulting from the lack of clear information about the coronavirus, which was new to all of us then, and an even more pressing need: where to go in most of the city now Food finds has been shut down. Restaurants, bars, and even other organizations that provide groceries and groceries to people with homelessness have been closed, leaving even fewer options for those without residences who have already faced food insecurity. So Price started talking on the phone. EMS Association President Selena Xie got involved and helped organize volunteers to prepare and distribute meals. EMS Explorer students began with grocery stores that Price and her colleagues delivered to people in warehouses across Austin. When she was away, Price – a single mother of two – continued to bring food to our unhoused neighbors.

The city, county, and nonprofits now have a robust system in place to feed vulnerable people in our community. However, there was no such apparatus in the early days of the pandemic. Thanks to Austinites like Price and the network of volunteers and first responders she activated, the people most at risk in Austin during the pandemic were able to get through this particularly bleak and uncertain period.

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