Cape May County to use hotels as warming shelters this winter because of COVID-19
Cape May County will not provide overnight warming shelters this winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The further apart we can keep people the better,” says Donna Gromme with Cape May County Human Services. "The challenges would be obviously providing PPE, providing the separation of space with the cots that are available. It would be having to sterilize all of the equipment, all of the cots, all of the blankets, all of the pillows."
Instead, the county will use motels as a place to house those in need of emergency shelter. The county used this program for years, but eventually switched over to warming centers. Fourteen motels across the county will be used.
“We will find out where they are, what motel they are close to and then we will arrange that placement for that evening,” Gromme says.
The county says for these placements to be used, it must be declared a “Code Blue” situation, which means the temperature must be below 32 degrees.
“It could be anywhere from 25-90 people,” Gromme says.
Gromme says that this program may not work in larger counties, but since Cape May county is smaller, they have the ability to go forward with this program.
Cape May County saw three Code Blue nights this fall where shelter was needed.