Homeless fear shelters because of COVID-19

Homeless fear shelters because of COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With cold temperatures in the Mid-South some in the homeless community say they’d rather brave the cold than go to a shelter with how prevalent COVID-19 is right now.

“It’s freezing.”

Terry Beckless says she’s been homeless for the last four months. She says she does the best she can to say warm as the temperature drops every night.

“We got space heaters, and we put up plastic around our tents and everything, and basically a lot of blankets,” Beckless said.

She says she would rather brave the cold out here than go to a shelter.

“You never know who really has it so that’s one main reason why I’m not going myself, I rather stay with the people I know who don’t have the COVID,” Beckless said.

Memphis Union Mission and The Salvation Army have managed to keep their doors open during the pandemic. Both shelters say they’ve been following CDC guidelines, like monitoring hand washing, keeping doors and surfaces sanitized, social distancing and temperature checks.

Memphis Union Mission says they’ve been at capacity since the beginning of the pandemic, and they are regularly placing sleeping mats in the dining room when beds are full.

The Salvation Army also says they’ve been at capacity, especially these last two weeks with the cold temperatures at night.

To ensure everyone is safe and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 the Salvation Army also says “clients are also quarantined and COVID-tested after admission.”

Beckless thinks it’s great the shelters have stayed opened and says as long as COVID-19 is out there she’ll stay out as well.

“We got plastic all everywhere and blankets hanging everywhere so it’s pretty good it’s like a house,” Beckless said.

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