Salvation Army opens lodging to help get people who are homeless, sick with COVID-19 off the streets

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctors advise people with less-than-critical cases of COVID-19 to stay home and recover, but there are lots of people in the metro who do not have homes to recover in.

To help fix that problem, the Salvation Army is offering its Booth Lodge to house people who are homeless and who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Rooms once used to house families and children at Summer camp will now be recovery rooms.

“It’s an honor for us to take a facility like this temporarily and be able to serve those who have no home,” Major David Harvey with The Salvation Army said.

The organization is providing the space and food, and the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness is providing the other services thanks to a $450,000 grant for emergency housing from Jackson County.

“We are offering folks a place to be able to recover from what my be some pretty rough uncomfortable symptoms in a much more comfortable environment,”GKCCEH Executive Director Heather Hoffman said.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the homeless population is experiencing a decrease in services, including those that provide, food, medical and behavioral health support.

“Certainly one of our biggest concerns is, as the virus starts to hit our homeless community, that it’s going to spread very quickly because the fact that they don’t have safe, easy ways to stay clean and practice good hygiene,” Hoffman said. “By nature, a lot of them are going to be living relatively close together.”

The last time this summer camp was used to house people during a crisis was on 9-11. When hotels filled up, Booth Lodge housed families stuck in Kansas City until the airports opened up.

“We pray it will be a comforting spot for the homeless individuals until they’re able to get rid of the virus and return back to wherever they’re living,” Harvey said.

The Salvation Army and the Homeless Coalition are hoping to provide hope for sick people who have nowhere to go.

“Because sometimes, when you’re off the street for a few weeks, it will feel really nice and hopefully give them an idea that maybe they’re ready to leave the streets now and get themselves on a good path,” Harvey said.

Tuesday is ‘Give From Home Day’, a fundraiser for The Salvation Army. Every dollar donated up to $25,000 will be matched. You can donate on their website.

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