Shelter-at-home(less)

Zaynah rehan
Mercury Staff

Why supporting homeless shelters is critical during quarantine

While many of us are safe within our own homes during the novel coronavirus pandemic, these times have become especially difficult for those who do not have a place to shelter in.

Throughout the country, homeless shelters have been hit hard by this unexpected disaster. Since COVID-19 is known for being particularly dangerous for those of older age and people with compromised immune systems, it is incredibly critical to implement necessary changes to shelters that house such demographics. With a shelter in San Francisco recently reporting 70 cases, the need for funding and aid to prevent the spread of infection — in a place bound to have a considerable concentration of human interaction — has become a dire need. Thus, it’s important to consider how shelters within our own community are coping with this virus and how we can help.

The Bridge, a homeless recovery center located in Dallas, has implemented new policies amidst the crisis. Chief Development Officer Nick Colletti said that continuous disinfection throughout the day, proper social separation within the shelter and cooperation of the homeless guests has allowed them to avoid infection. As shelters have removed beds in order to implement a safe distance of six feet, the number of homeless individuals with no shelter in Dallas has increased. In order to combat this, the city is working to reserve hotel rooms near the Dallas Love Field airport for those who become potentially ill and have no access to shelter to contain the spread of the virus. Aid in finding rental properties has also been provided for those who require housing.

Furthermore, with the implementation of social distancing, this time can also be critical for those who suffer from domestic violence. Hope’s Door, an agency located in Plano and Garland that serves victims of intimate partner and family violence, has also kept its doors open and has now transitioned to online counseling. While its resale store has closed, Beth Robinson, director of development, stated that donation of cleaning supplies would be greatly appreciated as the shelter continually works to protect its residents. Donations can be dropped on the front porch of the Plano Outreach office. Current urgent needs are food, financial donations, laundry soap and hand sanitizer.

As we all seek refuge in our homes, this time can be extremely tough for those who may not have a place to stay or for those who are victims to domestic violence. As a student, any kind of contribution can make a big difference. To help out, one can donate to The Bridge’s website, the front porch of Hope’s Door or to any other shelter one may wish to contribute to. In this time of need, let’s send out a helping hand to our fellow neighbors.

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