COVID-19 Recovery Center for unhoused individuals opens and seeking volunteers
Homelessness Solutions for Boulder County, a team from the City of Boulder, the City of Longmont, and Boulder County, has developed a plan and initiative to house individuals amid COVID-19 concerns in the new COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC). This plan includes housing vulnerable individuals who show symptoms of the virus or have tested positive and are currently experiencing homelessness. The response team works under the direction of the Emergency Operations Center for Boulder County.
On Friday, March 20, a COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) for unhoused individuals will open at the East Boulder Community Center to serve homeless individuals from Boulder and Longmont. Individuals who appear to show symptoms of COVID-19 and who will require further testing will be transported from homeless shelters to the CRC. At CRC, symptomatic or positive COVID-19 tested individuals can be in isolation for 10 to 14 days. Homeless shelters have begun daily screenings for clients and will be identifying individuals who require further care. The CRC is not a walk-up service, and individuals must be screened through an existing shelter program. Individuals needing any shelter service are strongly encouraged to contact Coordinated Entry at 303-579-4404.
The CRC has an estimated capacity of 55 people and will provide community members an individual bed and desk in partitioned areas. The CRC will also provide three meals a day, showers, laundry and internet access. The CRC staff and Medical Reserve Corps will be on site daily to provide supportive check-ins.
The intent of the CRC is to replicate the experience that an individual would have if diagnosed positive for COVID-19 and directed to rest at home in isolation. CRC is not a medical facility but a recovery facility to assist people through this illness. Individuals who decline in health while at the center will be transported to Boulder Community Health by ambulance. The Department of Public of Health has guided this initiative and will be directing protocols for infection control.
This initiative is directed by the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center. Kurt Firnhaber, Director of Housing and Human Services for the City of Boulder, stated the importance of this initiative, “While our community is facing this pandemic together, we need to find ways to take positive action to reduce the spread of this disease, and help those most vulnerable in our community. People experiencing homelessness don’t have a home to go to and recover in isolation with support and care like the rest of the community. This is an opportunity to step up and help our community members in need.”
CRC will be receiving technical support from local shelters, Mental Health Partners (MHP), the Medical Reserve Corps and Public Health. Staff members from the City of Boulder, City of Longmont, and Boulder County who are not currently assigned to designated tasks may choose to sign up for shifts of 4-8 hours at the CRC. Community members who would like to volunteer to support this initiative can sign up at https://countmein.bouldercolorado.gov/ or ow.ly/yhUj50yRkPJ. Contact Margo Josephs with volunteer questions at JosephsM@bouldercolorado.gov.
All staff and volunteers at the CRC will receive training and Personal Protective Equipment (gloves and masks) adhering to Center for Disease Control guidelines. Staff and volunteers will remain at recommended distances from clients through the process.
There are four general positions at the COVID-19 Recovery Center:
1) Screeners at each of the four shelters each evening from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
2) Drivers to transport individuals in passenger vans to the CRC from 4 to 10 p.m.
3) CRC staff to assist at the site, provide food, laundry, direction and general support to clients
4) CRC shift lead to manage check-in process, ensure shelter residents are booked rooms appropriately and staff are equipped with appropriate PPE, and manage main administration
The CRC will require several staff members and volunteers as it will be open 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Rotations will begin Friday, March 20. The CRC is looking for staff and volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60 who do not have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, lung and heart conditions. Staff and volunteers cannot be pregnant, regularly caring for or living with people who are over the age of 60, or have chronic medical conditions as mentioned above.