Harrisonburg approves local church as temporary homeless shelter

Harrisonburg approves local church as temporary homeless shelter
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:58 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Harrisonburg City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday night to allow a local church to be a temporary shelter for the homeless.

Open Doors typically would coordinate with local shelters to have places available throughout the city but with COVID-19 concerns they did not have a place ready.

The First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg was deemed to have the necessary facilities to accommodate social distancing for those using it for shelter.

The CDC emphasized the importance of securing safe sites for temporary shelter during the pandemic.

The Harrisonburg City Charter allows the city council to “secure the inhabitants from contagious, infectious or other dangerous diseases,” city attorney Chris Brown said. “As we know from CDC guidance, those who are experiencing homelessness are particularly in danger this time of year and with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The ordinance signed Tuesday night will last through the end of December.

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