Local organizations have been discussing what they can do to protect Oklahoma City’s homeless population during this pandemic. City officials announced the opening of two alternative-care homeless shelters.
These alternative-care shelters were put in place so those out on the streets have a safe place to go during this pandemic.
City Rescue Mission will be used as an isolation shelter for those who are showing symptoms or who test positive for COVID-19. Grace Rescue Mission will be used as a quarantine shelter, a safe place to go for people of high-risk. They expect both of these sites to open their doors in just over a week.
“Put together these two really brand new facilities in the course of about 4 weeks, I mean it wasn’t easy, but the collaboration part was always easy,” said Dan Straughan, executive director for Homeless Alliance.
According to officials with Homeless Alliance, the virus will impact the homeless population after it hits the general public. This is why the collaboration between city officials began; to find a way to support those who cannot shelter in place. “We felt, as a community, we really needed to come together and put something together that would help with that social distancing and flatten the curve in the homeless population,” said Straughan. Officials think this will help reduce the overall risk to the city community-at-large.
Scott Allen who works with Capitol Baptist Associations said there was a building which wasn’t being used and it has been transformed into a place where people can now be treated. “These people don’t have a place to shelter and so we tried to figure out what we could do to help meet that need,” said Allen. Allen said the key is to find a way to help the homeless population distance themselves from group areas around the city.