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News / Health / Clark County Health

Vancouver-area motel set to provide beds for homeless with COVID-19

Clark County arranges for 116 beds for those who need to quarantine, isolate

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith
Published: April 10, 2020, 6:00am

Clark County has established 116 beds at a Vancouver-area motel for people without housing who need to quarantine or isolate due to the novel coronavirus.

Funding for the temporary housing comes from $1.1 million the county got from the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Clark County Community Services did not disclose the name, location or owner of the motel.

The 116 rooms are ready for occupants, though no one is staying there yet, said Michael Torres, program manager at Community Services. Five staff members were hired and are going through an orientation. The number of staff could fluctuate depending on what needs materialize. They will be on-site to assist people using the facility and connect them with additional community resources.

People cannot refer themselves to the motel. The idea is that a service provider, hospital or Clark County Public Health would refer people to the facility through Council for the Homeless. They would identify unhoused people who need to quarantine because they’ve been in contact with someone who had COVID-19 or because they have COVID-19 but do not require medical treatment while recovering.

“What they need is a place to ride it out without getting others infected,” Torres said. “This isn’t a shelter and it’s not a medical facility.”

It’s also voluntary. If someone is unable or unwilling to quarantine, this facility would not work for them, he said.

Everyone staying at the motel will receive two daily meals and a snack from Meals on Wheels People, the area nonprofit providing meals to home-bound seniors. American Medical Transport would provide transportation services, though that contract is being finalized, Torres said.

Last month, Clark County Community Services said it intended to make at least 200 beds available for people who are homeless and impacted by COVID-19. The county is not requesting any donations from the public for people staying in the temporary housing.

On Monday, The Columbian requested a copy of the county’s contract with the motel. The county said after notifying the motel of The Columbian’s public records request, the motel said it intended to seek an injunction against the release. The county gave it a May 15 deadline to provide it with a copy of the injunction. In the meantime, the county said it would not release the name of the motel.

The Columbian continues to pursue obtaining a copy of the contract with the motel identified.

Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith