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Shelters in the Quad Cities prepare for the winter months on top of COVID-19 demand

“That is something that is weighing heavily on our mind.”

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Christian Care is a shelter for men aged 18 and over who are looking for help in getting back on their feet.

Joseph Parsons has been staying at the shelter for about two weeks. 

He says, “I came here and just have really been trying to pull everything together.”

Parsons says the shelter has been a great help, but staying during a pandemic comes with some worries.

Parsons has children he sees every week, and he worries they could get sick because of him catching something inside the shelter.

“I am concerned to a point but I take precautions as much as I can. Living in a shelter with other people you don't know the precautions they're taking.”

Those who run the shelter say they're doing everything possible to keep the men safe.

Jennifer Hill is the community outreach coordinator.

She says, “We're working on a plan almost every day.”

Christian Care says they’ve been lucky, with rooms already being big enough to be able to push the beds six feet apart to accommodate for social distancing.   

Still the shelter has seen an increase in need. Normally the shelter gives out about 60 meals a day at their community site.

With that site closed due to COVID-19 the shelter is giving meals out of their door.

“We're seeing about 100 meals plus go out the door. We're normally at sixty so it’s been quite an increase.

Hill says they’ve noticed an increase due to job loss during the pandemic. She says it has mostly ebbed and flowed, just like the pandemic has.

She says they’re concerned about the winter months, and planning ahead for them.

“That is something that is weighing heavily on our mind.”

As winter creeps closer the shelter typically sees an increase demand for beds and the waiting list is already full.

Hill says they work with other shelters in the Quad Cities to network and provide beds for as many people as possible.

“If we are not able to and need immediate shelter we can work with a partner agency and get those people in from the cold.”

Many shelters in the area working together to care for as many people as possible.

Christian Care hasn’t had any positive cases of COVID-19 yet.

Hill says when someone feels sick, they send them out to get tested. Thanks to grant money, they are able to put them up in a hotel while they await their test results.

From there the shelter is able to work with the individual, no matter which way the test result goes, and find them a safe place to be.