Central Texas church helps build COVID-19 care center for homeless population

Posted at 7:32 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 23:22:25-04

TEMPLE, TX — As we shelter-in-place and continue social distancing across the country, people are doing what they can to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

One Central Texas church is stepping up to make sure no one gets left behind, even those with nowhere to go.

Dozens of isolation pods now fill the Impact Temple Church.

"They are eight by eight [foot] pods and they are covered with two layers of plastic in between you and the person next to you," explained Pastor Brandon Baker.

It was something Ebony Jackson, director of the Bell County Indigent Health Care Program and Central Texas Homeless Coalition chair, requested the church provide.

"We needed an action plan for our homeless neighbors and so first we needed a place for them to self quarantine," said Jackson. "That's abiding by the COVID declaration so that our homeless residents will not be drifting around the city and either catching it or spreading the virus."

"Containment spaces that would at least be helpful for providing housing, a shelter but also a little bit of protection from spreading any kind of virus from one person to another," added Baker.

According to Baker, the COVID-19 Care Center includes 38 isolation pods, four showers and a kitchen.

"We have one, a nurse, who's been providing some insight in to how to create spaces that don't readily share germs from one person to another," said Baker. "So it's all being done in cooperation with our numerous health professionals."

As for the Central Texas Homeless Coalition's action plan?

"They're going to self quarantine there and then as long as they're negative," explained Jackson. "Now if they have symptoms, then they're going to be removed from the population and they're going to be isolated until we are able to get test results. If we receive [positive] test results then they are going to be moved from the entire center."

Church officials said about 10 to 15 percent of their members fit into the homeless category.