Sojourner House moves locations temporarily

Published: Mar. 29, 2020 at 5:06 PM CDT
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The effects of COVID-19 are causing a local homeless shelter to temporarily move locations. The Catholic Charities Sojourner House in Eau Claire is calling Hobbs Municipal Ice Center its new home for the time-being, to allow more space for social distancing.

"With the coronavirus coming we had to implement a new infectious disease plan just to make sure we are really being diligent around the health and safety of the guests we serve," said Sojourner House Director Brianne Berres.

COVID-19 is spreading across Wisconsin and the Sojourner House is taking the necessary precautions recommended to keep everyone at the shelter healthy.

"We did have to reduce our bunk capacity a little bit to make sure we had appropriate spatial distancing in the house," said Berres.

The shelter was able to make the transition to the new safer and bigger location with the help of the city and county government, according to Berres. The temporary shelter at Hobbs can hold up to 70 people with enough room to follow social distancing protocol.

"Everybody kind of has their own space to have a table, a chair and somewhere to rest," said Berres.

Berres says transportation to the new space won't be a problem for any of the guests.

"Right now bus fares are waved so people are able to have transportation throughout the week and there's a bus stop right across the street here so they're able to use the bus to get here."

While donations such as food and money are always needed, Berres says they are especially in need of more volunteers to help with this challenging time.

"We've had a lot of volunteers step up, but we've also had a lot of volunteers haven't been able to make it for different reasons," said Berres.

Even though the shelter has had its struggles adjusting to this global pandemic, Berres says the support from the community has kept them up and running safely.

"It's amazing to be apart of a community that steps up and wants to make sure that everyone in this community is safe and supported during this difficult time," said Berres.

Berres also says that the Sojourner House is screening all guests, volunteers and staff daily to ensure that everyone is remaining healthy inside and outside of the shelter. The temporary shelter at Hobbs will be open seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. until they are able to move back to their old location.

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