"It's the first time in my life where 'the last shall be first' actually worked."
Lee Stuart, CHUM's executive director, is locked down at home with COVID-19.
And yesterday, she had to send out an email saying that CHUM had had its first positive confirmed COVID-19 case in the shelter.
But when you talk with her, she's (perhaps) surprisingly upbeat.
Her team leapt unto action right away yesterday, along with St. Louis County and St. Luke's, to test and isolate everyone who was potentially exposed, according to state and county guidelines. Folks were moved to the designated Isolation and Quarantine hotel until cleared to return to the community, a facility created by St. Louis County because people experiencing homelessness can't “self-isolate.” And after closure for deep cleaning, the CHUM Shelter reopen on Monday.
Not only has CHUM had a plan in place since the early days of the pandemic, Stuart says it's working exactly the way it's supposed to to keep everyone safe. "We knew this time was coming," she says.
But what perhaps they didn't know was how the state, county, city and even local businesses would step up to help look after this vulnerable population of people ... and how maybe, there's an opening now to work on solving the problem of homelessness for good.