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Health & Science

Continuum of Care Works to Create Homeless Quarantine Center Ahead of Coronavirus Surge

tents  in the the woods
Community Support Services workers visit remote locations to interact with Summit County's homeless.

Summit County agencies are working round the clock to create a quarantine facility for the area’s homeless who must be quarantined.

The homeless quarantine center is being set up in the gymnasium at the Chapel in Akron. Officials hope to open it next week.

Leading the effort is the Continuum of Care, a nonprofit of more than 30 agencies that provides services for the homeless.

Continuum of Care manager Mar-quetta Boddie is working with Summit County Public Health and Akron’s Battered Women and Access shelters to establish the center.

Continuum of Care, homeless services
Mar-quetta Boddie is manager of Summit County Continuum of Care.

Officials from the University of Akron School of Nursing plan to help train the center’s staff, once it’s in place. 

“Once a person becomes severe, we’re just going to send them to the emergency room,” Boddie said.

The main goal is to keep anyone with symptoms from circulating.  

“The issue is, we've got to  have somewhere for people to go,” she said. “If they go to the hospital, and they say you have to be quarantined for 14 days, homeless people are trying to go back to the shelters. And they’re just causing chaos. We can’t have that.”

Manpower and supplies are both limited.

Tim Edgar is the residential manager for Community Support Services, which works with the homeless in shelters and on the streets.

“We’re going to have security there 24 hours a day,” Edgar said about the center. “We’re still working out the specifics on how many staff. We would love to have medical staff, at least to be there sporadically, but I don’t think that’s finalized yet. All the nurses are being pulled into duty elsewhere but that’s one piece that’s missing that I think we really need.”

The homeless quarantine center also needs supplies: bottled water and Gatorade, twin size cots and clean bedding, and clean gently used clothing. To donate, send an email to the Continuum of Care, 441 Wolf Ledges, Suite 100, in Akron to set up a drop-off.