Shelter changes locations to allow for social distancing

News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The governor’s stay at home order is simple to follow if you have a home, but that’s not easy to do for the state’s homeless population.

CU at Home Men’s Shelter gives the homeless a place to sleep. As COVID-19 started to spread, it began taking precautions, including inviting the local health department for a visit.

“When this first broke out, we had the administrator come and tour our facility, and she was very encouraged by what we already had set in place,” said Rob Dalhaus, III, CU at Home Executive Director.

But that quickly changed.

“Then as it developed, the encouragement was to find a place especially for the shelter that had that six feet of space,” he said.

So they moved from 70 East Washington to the gym at the Douglass Community Center a few blocks away. The Champaign Park District is allowing CU at Home to use it for free, which means the 50 to 60 men being helped each night have somewhere to sleep.

The gym uses mats, which are sanitized before and after use every day. But the cleaning doesn’t stop there.

“Right now we have a rotation of every hour going through and sanitizing those high touch point areas,” said Dalhaus.

Shelter staff is also searching for anyone showing symptoms. Dalhaus said if anyone is sick, they contact the health department and make sure that person is quarantined somewhere else and cared for.

“We know these men and women, we interact with them on a daily basis,” he said. “If there is an issue we see physically, we can intervene, as opposed to having them out on the street with maybe no support.”

Dalhaus said the move to Douglass is only temporary, and as soon as social distancing isn’t needed, they’ll move the shelter back to 70 East Washington.

CU at Home also expanded the hours at the Phoenix Drop-in Center. They’re now open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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