The City Auditorium in downtown Colorado Springs is being converted to an isolation shelter for people experiencing homelessness who come down with COVID-19. It can house anywhere from 70 to 100 people.
The shelter will serve as a place for those with the new coronavirus to recover. Referrals from local hospitals or the Springs Rescue Mission will be required for admittance.
Dr. Robin Johnson with El Paso County Public Health says the location will not only help slow the spread of the disease, but also serve as a comforting place for those who are sick.
"From a health perspective, we are really pleased to have this opportunity to facilitate some isolation that is consistent with what the rest of our residents have been asked to do," she says.
Officials say the shelter came together over the past two weeks through the work of over a dozen local organizations and a $63,000 grant from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.
Mayor John Suthers praised local nonprofits in working together saying the shelter is "absolutely vital in providing respite for these individuals while keeping out other homeless shelters safe and free of disease."
Local hospital systems are putting public health safety protocols in place. Meals will be provided by Catholic Charities. Goodwill will provide clothing for those in need at the shelter. Transportation to and from local hospitals will also be provided, along with telehealth services.
It's unclear when the shelter will open.
Editor's Note: The shelter was originally expected to open Wednesday afternoon, but the city says due to unforseen staffing and insurance complications the opening will be delayed. The post has been altered to reflect this new information.