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Salvation Army closes downtown shelter due to COVID-19

The shelter said it was a temporary but necessary precaution to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Salvation Army of Austin on Monday announced it would be temporarily closing its Downtown Social Services Center to help ensure the health of residents and staff, calling it a necessary precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the help of the City of Austin, the Salvation Army has transferred all shelter residents to isolation, quarantine or protective lodging facilities.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our clients and staff members,” said Major Lewis Reckline, Austin Area Commander. “Closing temporarily was not an easy decision, but it is a necessary decision to ensure the well-being of those who rely on us during their darkest hours. We are incredibly grateful for The City’s partnership to make sure our downtown shelter residents are receiving a temporary place to sleep during this time.”

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During the closure, the shelter will be professionally deep cleaned according to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After this, The Salvation Army will reconfigure its bed space to account for improved social distancing.

The shelter will reopen after this process and after staff members are able to consider and implement all safety measures.

During this time, case managers will continue to work remotely with their clients in helping them obtain affordable housing and improving their employment and financial statuses.

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The Salvation Army continues to:

  • Use proper handwashing technique
  • Use proper sneeze/cough technique (in elbow)
  • Encourage those with possible symptoms or exposure to self-isolate and reduce the risk of possible transmission
  • Deep clean areas in its three shelters around the clock

Additional precautions were added on March 4:

  • The Salvation Army has put preventative measures in place to make the safety and support for its staff and clients a priority
  • The Salvation Army is spreading out shelter beds as much as possible for social distancing
  • Additional self-care signage and additional access to handwashing stations in the three shelters
  • Case management meetings with shelter clients are being conducted over the phone to comply with social distancing

Physical donations, including cleaning supplies, can be dropped off or mailed to The Salvation Army's Area Command at 4700 Manor Road. Monetary donations can be delivered online.

The downtown shelter is located at 501 E. Eighth St.

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