LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Two homeless shelters in Lafayette have been locked down due to quarantine protocols, spurring a partnership between several community agencies to create a temporary day shelter.
Homeless shelters run by LTHC Homeless Services and Lafayette Urban Ministry are no longer accepting new clients. The Tippecanoe County Health Department placed those shelters on quarantine until Dec. 1 due to cases of COVID-19.
But LUM Executive Director Wes Tillett says homeless services are crucial during the pandemic.
"How do you wash your hands, you know, how do you stay home and stay safe if you don't have a place to call your own home?" he says.
LUM's winter warming station remains operational at night but people experiencing homelessness had few options during the day. In response, several community agencies partnered to create a temporary day shelter in Lafayette under the coordination of United Way of Greater Lafayette CEO Michael Budd.
"People were showing up finding themselves homeless and not having a place to go, and so that's really where this came to be," he says. "I've heard as much as, several of the agencies say as much as 10 to 12 people a day potentially being turned away."
Officials are calling the day shelter the LTHC LUM Shelter Annex.
"That was why this annex was created, so people could go in, warm up, use the restroom, get a meal, take a shower," Tillett says. "A lot of the services that LTHC and LUM would offer in an overnight stay, the annex is trying to supplement those during this quarantine."
Tillett says the day shelter could reopen again this winter as he anticipates further shutdowns.
"All winter long we'll be concerned about it with COVID, that menace out there lurking around, we're expecting this could happen again where we'll need to shut things down at LTHC or LUM or both and then maybe have to open up that annex again," he says.
Officials are urging people to first check in at LTHC or LUM for a referral to the temporary day shelter. The annex is located at the YWCA of Greater Lafayette and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.