Challenges local homeless shelters are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

It has been a very difficult time for many homeless shelters to manage during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA) and Community of Caring of Erie are two of the many shelters helping families during what were already tough times before the world essentially came to a screeching stop.

Yoselin Person had the chance to speak with staff at the shelters live this morning.

It has been such a difficult time for all homeless shelters, as you can imagine, but it has been especially hard for shelters that host entire families.

EUMA currently provides shelter for 34 individuals, that’s nine families with children.

They say following social distancing guidelines has been a struggle for the shelter, especially with the children there, because they don’t fully understand what’s going on.

The families have been staying in their rooms most of day, but are allowed to go out and grab fresh air.

Another challenge parents are facing is helping their kids with school work.

The shelter said they have empty rooms set aside for use during the pandemic, just in case they would need to move someone that’s showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Community of Caring currently has 24 people living in their shelter.

The shelter says they are short on staff and low on PPE supplies like masks and gloves.

Another challenge they face is keeping people from going outside. The shelter says they used to offer bagged lunches to the public but not anymore because of safety concerns. However, people can still go to the food pantry.

Also, the shelter continues to serve hot meals to those staying at the shelter.

People who stay there also face the challenge of not being able to receive any type of government assistance.

The shelter has been around for over 40 years and this pandemic has really taken a toll on them.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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