Commissioners approve $1.6M housing contract to fund COVID-19 Operations
County secures 225 rooms to reduce density in homeless shelters
Durham, N.C. – The Durham Board of County Commissioners held a special meeting earlier this afternoon to approve a $1.6M contract with the Durham Marriott-RTP, which will allow housing of homeless members of the community during COVID-19.
Following a unanimous vote of the Board of Commissioners, Chair Wendy Jacobs said, “During this pandemic crisis, our homeless population is among our most vulnerable residents at risk for infection. In addition, people living in congregate sites like our shelters are especially at high risk with the potential for rapid spread. We witnessed this just yesterday with the unfortunate announcement of 60 people testing positive at a senior facility in Orange County and 59 positive cases at Butner Correctional Facility.”
This action supplements the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice for securing individual rooms, if possible, to help reduce the density of residents at homeless shelters and other congregate housing facilities to allow for proper social distancing. This contract will secure 225 rooms at the Durham Marriott-RTP, located at 4700 Guardian Dr., Durham, and will run from April 10 - July 9, 2020.
Jacobs continued, “I applaud the work of our Emergency Operations Center Homeless Team, comprised of local public health and homeless services experts, who have worked diligently during the past few weeks to create a plan to ensure shelter residents and people experiencing homelessness can be safe. This is an urgent situation which required Durham City and County staff to be able to respond quickly to needs with daily changing conditions as we all work together to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19. The action taken today allows our County Manager and staff the ability to take action, implement this homeless response plan and do what is necessary to take care of our most vulnerable residents.”
Governor Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency for NC to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 10, 2020. The White House granted Governor Cooper’s request on March 26 for a federal disaster declaration for the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina. The declaration provides Public Assistance to all 100 N. C. Counties allowing county government offices, communities and nonprofits to qualify for financial reimbursements for the costs of taking reasonable actions to reduce the impacts of COVID-19.