DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Salvation Army of North Texas updated its safety guidelines Friday, in response to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ amendment to the emergency order related to COVID-19.
In an effort to slow the spread among vulnerable populations, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant Counties residents at Salvation Army shelters will be required to wear masks in common areas.
Common areas include dayrooms, group rooms, hallways, computer labs and areas designated for physical exercise.
Staff had already been doing so.
The Salvation Army of North Texas said it is currently sheltering 1,200 people per night and providing food to 10,000 people per week, in the five-county service area.
“As the region’s largest provider of social services, it’s our responsibility to mitigate the spread of a virus among those who are at heightened risk,” said Blake Fetterman, Executive Director of the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center. “Homeless shelters are facing complex challenges during this pandemic but we’re committed to doing all we can to help those we serve. I applaud our staff and clients in adhering to recommendations.”
The Carr P. Collins Social Service Center next door to Parkland Memorial Hospital is the largest shelter in North Texas and is currently housing approximately 450 residents.
To date, no resident at the shelter has tested positive for coronavirus.
In addition to the requirement for residents to wear masks in common areas, The Salvation Army is doing the following:
Screening all clients who enter facilities and monitoring for symptoms
Checking temperatures of clients who are allowed to leave to perform essential work
Requiring staff to self-monitor, regularly check temperature when reporting to work
Mandating a minimum of three to six feet between each bed and asking clients to sleep head to toe
Limiting group sizes to allow for social distancing
“Our request for service continues to increase and we have no plans to turn anyone away. One out of ten North Texans in need that deal with poverty, homeless and addiction depend on The Salvation Army,” said Beckie Wach, Executive Director of Mabee Social Service Center. “With the generous support of the public and our continued partnership with governmental entities, we remain steadfast in our mission of helping all North Texans in need – wherever and for however long it takes.”
Drive-through grocery service at 13 locations throughout the region continues and the emotional and spiritual care hotline is still running seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. CST at (844) 858-HOPE (4673).