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Shelters accommodate guests under social distancing guidelines

HOMELESS SHELTER WEB.jpg
Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 00:17:56-04

Today, the White House advised all people to avoid being in groups of more than 10 people, but that's difficult -- especially at homeless shelters.

Residents at shelters live in close proximity, but during the COVID-19 pandenic, many of those shelters are taking extra precautions.

KRIS 6 News spoke to several shelters, and some said they are at full capacity, while others still have room.

Good Samaritan Rescue Mission Executive Director Carole Murphrey said they’re currently at full capacity. The shelter can house up to 200 people, but to ensure residents stay healthy, they’re not accepting anymore guests.

“Everybody is trying to get used to the new way of living, because we don’t know how long this will be,” Murphrey said. “But if we take in anymore, its going to cause so much anxiety.”

Good Samaritan staff are also taking people's temperatures at the front door, cleaning more, and setting out extra hand sanitizer. Chairs in the main lobby have also been placed farther apart, and residents are also encouraged to sit outside more.

There’s also a staff worker who opens the front door for residents.

“Otherwise you’d have three or four sets of hands every 20 to 30 seconds on the door,” Murphrey said.

At Mission 911, similar measures are being taken. Staff is also educating residents about the importance of washing their hands, sanitizing and using disinfectants.

“When people come in here, wanting coffee, we give them CDC guidelines saying ‘Hey, this is what you need to follow,' ” said the executive director Tony Reyes.

Mission 911 still has room for residents, but for those who are already there, face-to-face interaction is also being limited.

Both Mission 911 and the Good Samaritan have also set up rooms designated to be a “quarantined” area, in case a resident gets sick.

“If you’re sick, we don’t want that to be spreading,” Reyes said. “So we ask you to go see a doctor and we go from there.”

The Salvation Army is also at full capacity right now, but staff there are also making sure all the areas and buildings are cleaned properly and disinfected.