Alexandria doctor continues homeless outreach during pandemic

William Mazzella
Dr. William Mazzella does outreach to homeless patients even during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Medstreet)
dr. william mazzella
Dr. William Mazzella helps a patient experiencing homelessness. (Courtesy Medstreet)
dr. William Mazzella
Dr. William Mazzella treats a patient experiencing homelessness. (Courtesy Medstreet)
William Mazzella
dr. william mazzella
dr. William Mazzella

A doctor who spends his own time and money in between hospital shifts venturing out across Northern Virginia and parts of D.C. to treat the homeless said his nonprofit is hoping to get a hold of COVID-19 vaccines soon.

Dr. William Mazzella is the founder of MedStreet, which has been helping the homeless in Alexandria and across the District since its launch earlier this year with assistance from volunteers and donations.

Mazzella said his nonprofit is now contacting vendors and suppliers in hopes of securing vaccine doses.

“I don’t think we’re high on the list, but at least we’re on the list,” Mazzella said. “I have hope we can get vaccines.”

WTOP first reported on his outreach effort just as the pandemic was ramping up. There is an even greater need for outreach as 2020 comes to a close.

“The holidays can get even more depressing when they look at their situation,” Mazzella said.

Since the initial report on MedStreet, which was in dire need of personal protective equipment to personally see the homeless, Mazzella said he has received an outpouring of help.

Even from someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Mazzella, who did not name the individual, said a speechwriter at the White House offered to secure face coverings for MedStreet.

Mazzella said the person claimed the White House mailing department had masks left over “from the anthrax scare some years ago,” bought a box and sent it over.

“This woman did this out of the kindness of her own heart,” Mazzella sad. “It wasn’t a formal White House presentation.”

Mazzella has numerous stories of encounters with people in need, recalling one man who not only needed medication, but also clothing as the weather turned colder.

“He was also wearing a pair of shorts and his shoes had holes in them,” Mazzella said. “We gave him long pants and a sleeping bag and new boots.”

Mazzella is also holding another drive soon to raise money and funds to keep MedStreet operating. Mazzella said they collected enough to surpass a $30,000 fundraising goal earlier this year.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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