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For Bloomington's homeless, a shelter for those who must self-isolate

Coalition responds to COVID-19 need
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Posted at 10:22 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 22:22:20-04

BLOOMINGTON -- In Bloomington, there's now a place for homeless people who must self-isolate because of COVID-19.

A coalition of Bloomington homeless organizations has opened a temporary shelter in an unused portion of a large commercial warehouse.

“This isolation shelter is urgently needed because people who are homeless are at greater risk of acquiring the virus, and have no practical way to follow social distancing guidelines,” said Emily Pike, Executive Director of New Hope for Families, one of the main agencies involved in the project.

According to Pike, without the shelter, COVID-19 will spread through the city's homeless population. “From a public health standpoint, we want to contain the spread of the virus, but just as importantly, from a human perspective, we want to make sure these people have a safe, sheltered environment to recover from illness.”

Use of the isolation shelter will require a medical referral, and a recommendation from one of the partner agencies. Project leaders emphasized that the shelter is not a medical facility.

The project received $70,000 grant from the Monroe County United Way. The county health department was involved in the planning.

The collaborating agencies include: New Hope for Families, Shalom Community Center, Middle Way House and Wheeler Mission