Comea Shelter Posts Statement On Coronavirus Concerns
The Comea Shelter in Cheyenne posted a statement on it's Facebook page on Monday about the challenges they and other homeless shelters are facing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Comea Executive Director Robin Bocanegra told Townsquare Media of Cheyenne on Monday morning that the post is not intended to speak to any particular policy, but rather an effort to communicate the challenges faced by the facility and others like it across the country.
She also said that while the post is specifically addressed to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, it's also intended as a message to the general public.
The statement follows:
Dear Governor Gordon,
Although we respect your decision to keep Wyoming open and appreciate your confidence in folks to use common sense and stay at home, we are seeing a very differerent picture. A number of the residents of the shelter are failing to understand the severity of this virus. Whether they don't understand, or simply don't care is hard to determine, but regardless, their coming and going to work, the store and elsewhere is putting everyone else at risk. This includes all residents but also the staff and their families. The staff fully accepts the responsibility of coming to work as a critical service provider, but the lack of control we have in keeping our work environment safe, is unsettling. As long as employers are expecting our folks to show up for work, and as long as stores are open for cigarettes and candy...as long as people are free to come and go without immediate consequence, we are at risk and so is the community.
It isn't just our residents struggling to stay at home. Drive by any grocery store or Walmart and the parking lots are full at all hours of the day. We now have people who don't even live here, pulling into the parking lot to visit their "friends" and bring them things. Again, we have no control over where these people have been or whom they have come in contact with.
Please consider that this situation goes beyond the typical family who has a home to stay in. People living in homelessness, are used to roaming around town all day so being told they need to stay put, is not happening. Being asked to use common sense is not working. Those experiencing homelessness often feel as though life is a constant risk and this is no different so why change...
There are at least a handful of people here that could die if they contracted the virus due to their already compromised health. If we lose even a few staff to sickness, we cannot operate safely.
We appreciate those encouraging and positive perspectives being offered on this situation, but we can't forget the dangerous and realistic perspecitve that exists for many!
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