F.C. Homeless Shelter Shuts Down 2 Weeks Early Over Coronavirus Concerns

The Falls Church Homeless Shelter announced its decision to close the hypothermia shelter on March 16 in response to the growing spread of the coronavirus.

Friends of Falls Church Homeless Shelter board of directors chair Robert Fletcher told the News-Press that the unprecedented action was made in conjunction with the City of Falls Church and shelter operator New Hope Housing.

Staff worked on transitioning the shelter’s 11 guests to the Bailey’s Crossroads Shelter and Supportive Housing facility, which is also run by New Hope Housing, over the weekend as the closure comes two weeks earlier than usual.

However, several of the shelter’s services will remain operational through March 31 as planned, including the support of a case manager, bus passes and personal laundry.

In a statement released via email, the shelter said “This decision was a difficult one but we believe necessary because we do not have the facilities or capability of complying with the latest CDC guidelines for safely operating a shelter during the Covid 19 emergency. In addition, we were experiencing a sharp increase in the number of volunteer cancellations to assist at the shelter, including providing meals.”

While the shelter also said that none of its guests, workers or volunteers contracted the virus or was exposed to anyone who has it, it opted for a proactive approach in order to curb COVID-19’s dissemination.