Homeless shelters make accommodations for guests


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Here in the Cape Fear, homeless shelters are either full or has had to limit new guests because of coronavirus concerns.

They have gotten creative.

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“In this very particular crisis that we’re experiencing, that issue of keeping people distanced from each other, it really presents a significant challenge,” Good Shepherd Executive Director Katrina Knight said.

One that has taken effective and fast planning. Knight said the main problem for them will be figuring out how they will house more people.

“Very quickly as a community we need to figure out how can we accommodate newly homeless families. How can we accommodate newly homeless men and women. I don’t think we’re too far away from figuring that out,” Knight said.

For now, in effort to comply with the CDC guidelines, they have moved women and families into a local motel, leaving 50 men in the shelter.

“Which is still kind of large number, but at least we’ve reduced by about half the number of folks who are in this space,” Knight said.

Nearby, the Salvation Army in Downtown Wilmington has also made accommodations. They set up a tent Thursday, which houses up to 25 people.

Major Mark Craddock said they too are not taking in new guests, in their main facility; however, the tent is their backup plan.

“We can start again from scratch, and fresh, so that we can house more people that way they’re not sleeping on the streets,” Craddock said. “They’re not sleeping in the parks, or even just out here in the open.”

Craddock said the shelters have been working with leaders for more space and what to do if their guests gets the virus.

“There are people in place, who are thinking through, and trying to create solutions,” Craddock said. “We brought in people from the county, the city, the hospital system, the shelters, churches, other agencies around.”

Craddock said they used the donations from other agencies and their Christmas kettles to fund the tent.

He expressed how important it is for the community to keep donating, so they can be used in harsh times like this.