As central Ohio continues its fight against COVID-19, local advocates are working to ensure some of the communities most vulnerable are safe.
Sara Loken, Community Relations Director for the Community Shelter Board, says her agency is working to ensure that those without a home are still housed and healthy.
“We are going to great lengths to make sure that anytime anyone walks through the doors of a homeless shelter a simple screening is conducted by shelter staff,” Loken says.
She says the next big challenge was working to decide where to place the homeless who tested positive for COVID-19.
“We’ve had to open a special shelter for isolation and quarantine for people who are not sick enough to be in the hospital but they don’t have a home to rest and recuperate.”
Loken says with the support of the City of Columbus and Franklin County Public Health, an unused motel on the city's north side will now house homeless men, women and children fighting COVID-19.
“Our special shelter for isolation and quarantine just opened on April 1 and so far, we’ve had 9 patients at any given time. That’s our biggest.”
Loken says the YMCA of Central Ohio is staffing the shelter. She tells 10TV this temporary housing has been leased by the Community Shelter Board for the sole purpose of aiding the homeless.
This advocate says as the pandemic continues, their doors will be open and they are prepared for a surge in guests in need of a safe place to heal.
“We do need to be prepared for the next wave of illness and for the next wave of people to get sick.”
If you are interested in helping the mission of the Community Shelter Board, click here.