Between COVID-19 and extreme heat, Valley homeless shelters used to making adjustments


While the Christy House only holds half of the residents than what it used to, they still find a way to help those in need

(WKBN) – Homeless shelters around Youngstown are not only dealing with COVID-19, but also the extreme heat of the past three weeks.

On Monday, we talked with the people running three of those shelters to see how they are holding up.

COVID-19 has not stopped homeless shelters from doing their part in the community, but just like any other organization or business, they have had to adapt to new guidelines.

“We’re making sure that when we’re around the public, we’re wearing a mask. We also have the beds that are six feet apart now,” said Caitlin Gilger, director of development for the Warren Family Mission.

“We put sanitizers throughout the building, there’s sanitizers everywhere. When people come in, we ask people to wash and clean their hands,” said Donna Wells, chief program officer over Family Services for the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.

With the summer heat also playing a role and with fewer cooling centers around the Valley, CEO of the Greater Warren Youngstown Urban League Thomas Conley said he’s seen an increase in calls.

While the Christy House only holds half of the residents than what it used to, Conley said they still find a way.

“It’s been a learning experience. We had to downsize at our shelter because of social distancing but then we were able to utilize close hotels and motels,” Conley said.

At the Warren Family Mission, they’ve been giving out a lot more meals. Gilger said they’ve served over 90,000 meals so far this year.

“Well, a lot of people got laid off because of the coronavirus, so I feel like a lot of people aren’t working right now. So, we’ve seen a huge amount of people coming in for meals,” she said.

Wells said the Rescue Mission has not seen any change in foot traffic because of the heat, but it still has cooling areas in the building just in case.

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