XENIA — In response to the coronavirus and social distancing suggestions, Bridges of Hope suspended its night-time sheltering services this morning.
The shelter currently houses around 50 men and women in the gymnasium of the former Simon Kenton Elementary School building — the home of Bridges of Hope — and many are older and/or have health challenges, according to a post on its website.
“As the virus begins to spread in Greene County, we could expect an infection rate inside the shelter much higher than the average,” the message said. “No amount of disinfecting can prevent the spread. To be able to effectively meet this challenge will require additional staff, more supplies, additional security cameras, and opening restrooms that have, as yet, been non-operational.”
Bridges of Hope is working on funding that plan but it may be two weeks before any money could be secured. To help those who frequent the shelter, hotel vouchers provided by another local agency have given 25 guests a place to stay for the next two weeks. The website said others are seeking shelter with friends or relatives, while some are going to stay in tents. The shelter will continue to provide a meal for guests who need it each day from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Shelter officials are also going to seek emergency permission to occupy the entire building until the COVID-19 threat has passed.
“That would enable us to provide social distancing, with beds spaced at 10 feet apart, and more distancing at meal time,” Bridges of Hope President Marlene Labig said in an email.
Labig also said Greene County Public Health has agreed to visit daily to do assessments on shelter guests. Anyone showing symptoms will be quarantined in a separate area of the building.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.