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Homeless shelters increase hours, services, health protocols

(Wikipedia)

WALLA WALLA — In an effort to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay home. Stay Healthy” order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, local homeless shelters are now operating on a 24-hour care mission.

Local shelters include the Christian Aid Center, YWCA Walla Walla’s Safe Shelter, and the Walla Walla Sleep Center.

In order to make the additional hours possible, City of Walla Walla/Walla Walla County partnerships, along with private donations, are funding additional security and social work staff.

“The unsheltered homeless population is especially vulnerable to contracting and spreading COVID-19 if they have nowhere to go but the streets,” Deputy City Manager Byron Olson said in a news release.  “The shelters are the nearest thing they have to a home”.

While the additional hours are in place, arrangements are being made for donors to supply breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lunch donations are being arranged through church soup kitchens that will expand their ministries to include persons at the Sleep Center. Dinners are being arranged through various donor groups, individuals, and businesses such as Big Cheese Pizza.

Donations can be arranged by contacting the centers directly:

Christian Aid Canter: 509-525-7153

YWCA Walla Walla: 509-525-2570

Sleep Center/Alliance for the Homeless: 509-522-8410 or 509-520-0316

Additional health protocols and screenings are being implemented at all sites with the guidance from the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health and Providence Population Health Team.

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