COVID-19 patients in homeless community can quarantine at Salvation Army campgrounds

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 19:58:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Salvation Army won't be holding any camps at Three Trails this summer due to coronavirus, so they offered their facilities to help the homeless community.

Booth Lodge will be used as a quarantine center for people who don't have a home to which to retreat.

"There are rooms on this side and on the other side there are restrooms they can use," said Major David Harvey, showing 41 Action News around the building.

The cabin will house men on one side and women on the other.

"In these rooms, there are three beds. We'll have them one at a time, but we can fit 40 [people] in the facility if needed," Harvey said. "Because they've all been shown to be COVID positive, they won't hurt each other."

Jackson County proposed a $10 million emergency funding effort through the Runions Act that includes $2 million in emergency housing.

The county legislature set aside $450,000 of those funds for the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness to house people at the camp near Lee's Summit Road and U.S. 40.

"I think that's the biggest thing we wanted to provide, not just a physical location but one that comes with dignity and comfort for our folks as they're trying to recover from this virus," said Heather Hoffman, executive director of the Coalition to End Homelessness.

People will be referred from a medical provider or the Hope Faith Resource Village. It's all voluntary. They can stay for 14 days or until they're not showing symptoms for 72 hours.

The facility will be up and running by next week with medical staff on site.

Hoffman said they've been in close communication with outreach groups Swope Health Services and Hope Faith, and overall most people who have been tested are coming up negative for the virus.

"We just recognize that once those positives start hitting, just like with the whole community, it happens exponentially, so we're just trying to be aware and prepared for that," Hoffman said.

The patients will have opportunities to get some fresh air on the 40-acre campground, although they're encouraged not to leave.

The coalition is contracting with the county, which is working on security for the grounds.

Two staff members and a security officer will be present at all times. The grounds will have fencing and security cameras.

The cabin will have common areas, also separated into men and women, where patients can use the phone or computer to communicate with family members or the Salvation Army's chaplain services.

Harvey said this is a time not only to assure people they're not alone, but to offer permanent housing options after they leave.

"Sometimes it takes an incident like this to show people there are other ways besides living on the streets, so that's our prayer that, that miracle would happen in their life," Harvey said.