Homeless Isolation Shelter Opened, Received First Guest on Sunday

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COVID-19 | Homeless Isolation Shelter

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – The City of Colorado Springs together with El Paso County, El Paso County Public Health and 12 members of the Pikes Peak Area Continuum of Care successfully opened a community isolation shelter to serve those individuals infected with COVID-19 who are currently experiencing homelessness. The shelter is located at the City Auditorium at 221 E. Kiowa St., which is owned, managed and maintained by the City of Colorado Springs. 

While the Isolation shelter is not a medical facility, it does feature nursing care, telehealth services and meals. In order to protect the health of staff who will interact with guests, staff have been provided face masks, sanitizer, gloves and basic medical supplies. As for amenities, the isolation shelter has cots, blankets, restrooms, portable showers and hand washing stations. The shelter can currently house 70 individuals, with the capacity to expand to 100 if needed. 

The isolation shelter is a coordinated effort by the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care, which is made up of service providers and advocates, local government officials and citizens who work to eliminate homelessness in El Paso County.  The Isolation shelter is the product of collaboration between the below partners. 

  • PPOEM/City of Colorado Springs provides access to the city auditorium for the isolation shelter and developed partnerships with Springs Rescue Mission, Zactly Staffing Solutions, and CU School of Medicine.  
  • Community Health Partnership coordinates the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care and is providing coordination of the isolation shelter. 
  • Zactly Employment Solutions is providing certified nursing assistants 24/7 and a licensed practical nurse 12 hours per day at the isolation shelter.
  • CU School of Medicine medical students are providing telehealth capabilities at the isolation shelter 24/7 daily, responding to questions from isolation shelter staff, Springs Rescue Mission, RJ Montgomery, and The Place. 
  • El Paso County Public Health developed homeless isolation shelter recommendations and isolation plan and helped secure PPE. 
  • Catholic Charities is providing two sack meals daily to include breakfast and lunch. 
  • Springs Rescue Mission is providing staff to manage and monitor the isolation shelter, as well as evening meals as needed.
  • Envida is providing transportation from hospitals and shelters and will support EMS-requested transports.
  • Centura Health and UCHealth will screen and refer individuals to the isolation center.
  • Goodwill Industries donated clean clothing for shelter residents.
  • Pikes Peak Library District provided books, DVDs and Chromebooks for shelter residents.

“We are so fortunate to have an extremely dedicated group of non-profit agencies and professionals who bring expertise and a dedication to meeting the needs of the homeless,” said Mayor John Suthers. “This was a huge lift involving multiple organizations and I want to thank them for collaborating so quickly to get this vital shelter operational.”

“This shelter is absolutely vital in protecting a very vulnerable population and reducing the spread of the virus,” said Jennifer Mariano, director of homeless programs for the Community Health Partnership. "I'm so very proud to be a part of this dedicated group of organizations and individuals, who exercised creativity, collaboration and determination in doing something completely new, facing obstacles head on, and never giving up on getting this up and running."  

The opening of the shelter came four days after its announced creation, due to unforeseen insurance and staffing issues. 

The full press conference from April 1, 2020 can be viewed at facebook.com/CityofCOS. 

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