This warehouse building on West Hillside Drive was used as a COVID-19 self-isolation site for homeless people for a time in Bloomington. The motel rooms were used, but funding has run out. Herald-Times file photo
This warehouse building on West Hillside Drive was used as a COVID-19 self-isolation site for homeless people for a time in Bloomington. The motel rooms were used, but funding has run out. Herald-Times file photo

This time last year, federal pandemic dollars were helping fund an isolation shelter in Bloomington for unhoused people who had been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.

Even though the deadly virus continues to spread, the city has no location this year for COVID-positive people who don't have a place to live to go and recover. 

"There sadly isn't any community-based option at the moment for people who test positive for COVID to isolate," said the Rev. Forrest Gilmore, who oversees Beacon, a nonprofit that serves needs of the homeless.

By mid-January 2021, the isolation shelter, which opened the previous spring, had housed about 200 people who had tested positive, were having COVID-like symptoms or had been in close contact with someone who was infected with COVID-19.

On a cold Thursday night last March, The Herald-Times tracked where unhoused people were staying in the shelter system. The isolation facility on West Hillside Drive, called the Monroe County Safe Recovery Shelter, had 15 guests that night.

That was then; this is now

On the first day of December this year, advocate for the homeless Katie Norris put out a plea on Facebook under the words "TENTS NEEDED TODAY."

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