WORCESTER, Mass. - A group is calling for action to support the unhoused community in Worcester.

The Homeless Addicts Leadership Organization, or HALO, was outside city hall Tuesday handing out food and clothing.

Director Samantha Olney is homeless and said there are nearly 1,000 homeless people in the city and only 180 beds available.

She recently asked the council to allow for sanctioned encampments, but the item was filed.

Now she said she's making a small ask of the council, for them to recognize the urgent need for access to public restrooms for unhoused people.

"So it's about different solutions” said Olney. “We need services. We need help. We need access to things. So, I mean, this is just one piece of the puzzle. I think what we're really aiming for is a smaller win considering we have big goals and the sanctioned encampment is a really good idea. Like what we have for it, the programs and stuff that we want to offer. You know they didn't even want to take the time to listen to all the people that spoke in support of it. So we're trying smaller buildup of wins to get what we want."

Olney said the current lack of restroom facilities not only undermines the unhoused population, but also forces them to find a place to use the bathroom which poses a public health and sanitation risk to the community.

The item was brought up at Tuesday night’s city council meeting and sent to the city manager for a report on best practices.