A community recreation center in Cambridge, Mass., began housing homeless residents this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The War Memorial Recreation Center, which sits on Cambridge Rindge and Latin School’s campus, will open a quarantine area for people without stable housing who are currently displaying symptoms of the virus.
“The War Memorial is an ideal location to insulate our most vulnerable residents who are in need due to the ongoing public health crisis, while providing them with ample space and various resources, including medical support, food, showers, bathrooms, changing space and other activities,” mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and city manager Louis A. DePasquale said in a joint statement announcing the facility’s opening, which was reported on by The Harvard Crimson.
Homeless residents need to have a confirmed positive test for COVID-19 to be housed at the facility. The center will be staffed with medical professionals from local hospitals and will include 22 beds in a quarantine section and more than 100 beds in the fieldhouse. An additional 20 to 50 beds will be situated in the center’s gymnasium for those who need to self-isolate after a positive test.
Homeless centers in the area have struggled to stay open. The Harvard Square Homeless Shelter was forced to shutter late last month.
City councilor Jivan G. Sobrinho-Wheeler is holding out hope that MIT and Harvard will open their doors to homeless.
“Cambridge is a university community,” he said. “We have two universities with thousands of dorm rooms that aren’t being used and hotels that aren’t being used at this point. It makes sense as a place for unhoused residents to be able to shelter.”