Advocates focus on protecting homeless population from COVID-19

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While many people have the luxury of staying in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, people without homes are vulnerable to the risk of infection. That’s why area shelters, programs, and transitional housing facilities are working together.

On Friday, Julie Becker was taking notes while participating in a conference call. Others on the call included representatives from places like the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House and Glory House. They spent the morning talking with Sioux Falls Community Health’s Chief Medical Officer. The goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page to keep the homeless population, or others who are staying in transitional housing facilities, safe from COVID-19.

“We all have a consistent message. We have consistent information that helps us,” Becker said.

Though we weren’t allowed to listen in on the conversation, Becker gave us some insight into how the St. Francis House is keeping guests safe.

“We have to make sure we are educating them on proper hand washing, because a lot of times they don’t have those accessible to them,” Becker said.

Staff is cleaning everything at least twice a day. While some guests may be out of work because of business closures, Becker says the St. Francis House is finding activities to keep them busy and to ease their stress. There may be more than 80 people here, but Becker says it’s still important to make sure they don’t feel like they’re alone.

“80 different personalities. 80 different stressors, and being able to make sure one, they know they’re in a safe home that is clean. That we’re protecting them and we’re trying to do everything we can during this community crisis we’re facing,” Becker said.

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