Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 20, 2020

Homeless Coalition announces COVID-19 plan for warming shelter

The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition plans to use room barriers like this one to separate people sleeping in its warming shelter this winter. - Image provided

The Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition will open a warming shelter at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen for the homeless community this winter on nights when temperatures are expected to remain at 35 degrees or below.

The Homeless Coalition developed a COVID-19 safety plan in collaboration with the Hamilton County Health Department that includes temperature checks, hand sanitizer, PPE and barriers.

Anyone in need of shelter can text “winter shelter” to 97779 to subscribe to updates on when the warming shelter will open.

More than 600 people face homelessness on the streets of the city on any given night, according to the Homeless Coalition, and the warming shelter averages about 90 people per night during the winter months.

This year, COVID-19 response funding allowed the Homeless Coalition to buy a barrier that will separate everyone while sleeping. Additionally, if someone is at higher risk for COVID-19, they will be housed in a non-congregate hotel shelter, reducing the congregate shelter by at least one-third.

Homeless Coalition Executive Director Wendy Winters says her team has held weekly COVID-19 response planning meetings with local partners since March.

“Our main goal is to get through this winter without a significant COVID outbreak in the homeless population. Of course, the best way to prevent spreading the virus is to house people. We hope to strategically use COVID response dollars to end homelessness for at least a few subpopulations.”

No one in need of shelter will be turned away, the Homeless Coalition says in a news release. Organizations interested in serving as an overflow site and landlords interested in partnering with the coalition can contact the organization through homelesscoalition.org.

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen is also accepting donations ahead of the shelter’s opening. Coats, hand warmers, socks, underwear, gloves and hats can be dropped off Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m-5 p.m. at 727 E. 11th St.

Source: Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition