Community Emergency Shelter Committee has submitted the following:
ROCKLAND — The Community Emergency Shelter Committee is grateful for the overwhelming community support and now opts for non-congregate shelter model this winter to preserve public health and prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
The Community Emergency Shelter pilot that had been proposed to open at the Flanagan Community Center this coming December received considerable endorsement from our community last year, including from the YMCA, the City of Rockland, the Rockland Police Department, faith-based organizations, and local leaders.
The realities of COVID-19 have forced the committee to modify the 2020 Community Emergency Shelter pilot plan. Learning from the ongoing work of Knox County Homeless Coalition during the pandemic, and from shelters throughout the country there is now evidence of substantial public health risk and virus transmission in “congregate” facilities, as originally planned with large open spaces, multiple beds, and numerous families in one room.
The CDC and health officials are encouraging shelter providers to avoid congregate settings and instead utilize vacant motel or hotel rooms to safely self-isolate individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In partnership with Maine State Housing Authority, KCHC has been doing just that for the past six months successfully. They’ve been keeping clients and the public as safe as possible during these challenging times through the growing use of hotel rooms in the area. As the team at KCHC prepares for winter, they expect to see a growing need to place individuals and families in motel rooms for safe emergency shelter.
While it is not what was envisioned a year ago, the Community Emergency Shelter Committee is committed to continuing to support the emergency needs while following CDC guidance and is endorsing the use of non-congregate accommodations as the emergency solution this winter. Although the shelter facilities will be different than originally anticipated, by utilizing motel and hotel rooms the outcome remains the same—safe, emergency shelter to individuals and families during the cold winter months.
KCHC, fiscal agent for the committee, has sent a letter notifying all original donors to the pilot program of the plans for this winter. For questions or comments or to support this project please contact email@example.com or Emergency Shelter Pilot c/o KCHC, PO Box 1696, Rockland, ME 04841.
About Knox County Homeless Coalition
KCHC was formed in 2014 as a grassroots community initiative to reimagine the delivery of homeless services. In just under seven years, they have evolved to employ a multi-pronged, two-generation approach that provides compassionate support for highly resilient and often marginalized individuals and families through custom tailored strength-based and trauma-informed programs. They innovate and address root causes of homelessness through skill development, advocacy and community collaboration. The comprehensive approach KCHC takes meets urgent needs while simultaneously focuses on prevention and systemic change.
Since taking in their first client KCHC has helped more than 1000 people finding permanent housing. Through combined services at KCHC and The Landing Place (the comprehensive youth program of KCHC) nearly half of all those served are children and youth.