BULLHEAD CITY — The surge of local COVID-19 cases has resulted in the postponement of today’s scheduled opening of the BHHS Legacy Foundation Christine Stamper Center for Help & Hope.
“If we open now, the question is not if a guest, staff or volunteer will test positive for COVID-19, the question is when,” according to an announcement sent out by Catholic Charities Community Services, the organization that will operate the day center and homeless shelter near the intersection of Miracle Mile and North Oatman Road in Bullhead City. “The safety of the entire population is of the utmost importance.”
Catholic Charities is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance as well as The Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response, from the National Alliance to End Homelessness to ensure the health and safety of the population.
According to the NAEH, moving unsheltered residents into a shelter can create additional risk for people experiencing homelessness.
“Shelter residents are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” Catholic Charities pointed out. “Which is why our plan originally stated that we were proceeding with ‘a carefully-staged, phased-in approach — subject to change based on conditions observed.’ ”
Catholic Charities will hire two additional staff members to provide homeless outreach. These staff members will provide COVID-19 education, hygiene supplies and connect the unsheltered to health care services while continuing to follow CDC guidelines in doing so.
The organization also detailed what it will continue doing until conditions change:
- Use hotel rooms (based upon availability) for people who are unsheltered.
- Serve the unsheltered throughout Mohave County with outreach services.
- Monitor COVID-19 and open the center when it is safe to do so.
- “Be optimistic, prayerful and serve those who are most vulnerable.”