ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Rochester Community Warming Center (RCWC) is relocating to the Mayo Civic Center.
Effectively immediately, half of the Civic Center’s Exhibition Hall will be used for the new temporary Day Center open from 8 am to 8 pm and the other half will be used for the Warming Center from 8 pm to 8 am. The Warming Center will also remain in operation for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are grateful for this temporary relocation because this new space gives us the ability to provide shelter to all homeless who need protection during this emergency,” says RCWC Night Manager and Communications Coordinator Cathy Hunsaker. “We now have capacity for 45 adults to sleep in beds at the new location and additional capacity for more to sleep on cots or mats. The Exhibition Hall is also large enough that we can ensure all sleeping spaces are at least six feet apart, so we are abiding by the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.”
Those staying at the RCWC must be signed in by 10 p.m. Organizers say guests can leave at any time but cannot come and go throughout the night. Once they leave the Civic Center location, they will not be allowed back in.
“COVID-19 has forced many of us to stay home which has been uncomfortable for a lot of us. But what if you don’t have a home to stay in? That makes the COVID-19 outbreak even scarier and that’s what the unsheltered homeless in Olmsted County are experiencing,” says Olmsted County Director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Dave Dunn. “This has been a very fluid situation. We’re trying to determine how to provide the best options for social distancing requirements. We believe the Mayo Civic Center Exhibition Hall provides the best temporary solution for the safety of people experiencing homelessness during this difficult time.”