The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 4:40 pm

Local non-profits help the homeless during pandemic


Fort Wayne nonprofit groups for a month have been quietly operating a regional quarantine shelter for those with COVID-19-related conditions who do not have safe and stable housing, organizers said today.

The disclosure came in an announcement the city had received $1.7 million in emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to address pandemic-related needs.

The project will receive $200,000 of those funds and work with clients in nine counties in northeast Indiana, said Matthew Purkey, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Allen County, the project's lead agency.

The shelter is designed for those with COVID-19 symptoms, those without symptoms who test positive, those who have been exposed to those with COVID-19 who should be isolated according to health guidelines but can't just go home, he said.

Clients could be homeless or living in a homeless shelter, but they also might be facing eviction, living with other people or not be able to return to an unsafe situation, such as domestic violence, organizers said. Referral by a health-care or social service agency agency is required.

"We don't know of any others like this. We know others are available (elsewhere), but we wanted to do this with the full dignity of our clients," Purkey said.

Other quarantine shelters may have been set up in places like school gyms and tents, he said, but this one is in a multistory existing building. Clients will have their own room with a bathroom and television. Cell phones are allowed, he said.

Organizers are not disclosing the location of the shelter for security reasons pertaining to staff, cooperating agencies and clients, Purkey said.

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