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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Homeless shelters working to improve social distancing

As the number of Ohioans infected with COVID-19 continues to grow, local advocates are working to ensure some of the most vulnerable are safe and healthy.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As the number of Ohioans infected with COVID-19 continues to grow, local advocates are working to ensure some of the most vulnerable are safe and healthy.

Sara Loken with the Community Shelter Board said each night hundreds of people utilize central Ohio shelters.

“On any given night in Columbus and Franklin County about 1,200 people sleep in homeless shelters and anywhere up to about 600 or more are believed to be homeless on the street,” Loken said.

Loken said those shelters - although safe on a typical night – could become dangerous with the presence of infected respiratory droplets.

In a move to protect those utilizing shelter services, other venues are now being used to provide space.

“We opened a partnership with the YMCA of Central Ohio to use their downtown historic building,” Loken said.

“We have opened the gymnasium and tonight 140 are sleeping in that gymnasium.”

Loken said the agency will bring another facility online to help with social distancing in a matter of days. A Columbus rec center will soon reopen as another facility to house those without shelter.