WOODLAND HOMELESS SHELTER BACK TO REGULAR SERVICE AFTER COVID-19 OUTBREAK
All of the clients at the new single-story homeless shelter located at 1901 E. Beamer St. in Woodland are back after a coronavirus outbreak caused a temporary closure earlier this month.
“Fourth and Hope’s adult emergency shelter recently experienced a COVID outbreak in February,” said Doug Zeck, Fourth & Hope’s executive director. “After notifying Yolo County Public Health, a first round of testing was done including the immediate implementation of additional health and safety measures. After the second round of test results indicated continued disease spread, program staff worked closely and quickly with the Public Health team to move all shelter guests into quarantine at a Project Roomkey location.”
Project Roomkey is part of an ongoing effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic by placing homeless individuals into hotels and motels to help limit the spread of COVID-19 while providing shelter for California’s homeless population. The project’s objectives are to protect public health, isolate the medically vulnerable and lessen the demand on local shelters to allow for physical distancing.
In Yolo County, at least nine motels have been used to house homeless individuals, providing them services through a partnership between Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency; the cities of Davis, West Sacramento and Woodland; the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office; four service providers.
According to Zeck, all 53 guests at the Beamer Street shelter were moved within one and a half days to a Project Roomkey location. The location already had space, quarantine requirements, and resources available.
“Shelter guests will have successfully completed their 10-day quarantine on Feb.18 and are now moving back to the shelter,” Zeck explained. “The shelter program has reinforced existing health and safety protocols added staff to help maintain compliance, and implemented new mitigation measures, including a partnership with Healthy Davis Together for weekly testing services.”
Woodland City Manager Ken Hiatt commented on the outbreak during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which was held via Zoom.
“We were fortunate to be able to transition those residents of the shelter to Project Roomkey rooms here within our county and the report now is that folks will begin transitioning back to the shelter,” Hiatt said. He also highlighted the Healthy Davis Together partnership, which included rapid testing as well as “training some of the staff at the shelter to be able to monitor and identify symptoms.”
The Woodland Police Department reported its Homeless Outreach Street Team helped with the transition of homeless from the Project Roomkey locations back to the shelter.
“We are extremely grateful for this new partnership and its role in keeping both clients and staff safe during these challenging times. It is the result of an ongoing and very supportive collaboration with the County and City,” Zeck continued. “This quick and amazing response was a collaborative effort between the City of Woodland, Yolo County, and Fourth and Hope staff.”
The 6,500-square-foot, $2.3 million shelter has been open to clients since Jan. 4. During the pandemic, the shelter will max out at around 70 people, with a 40/30 split of men and women. The old Fourth & Hope location in downtown Woodland could only house around 38 clients.