Idaho Shelters Hope To Fix Homeless Health Gap

Sep 26, 2018

Officials who provide services to homeless people in the Treasure Valley say folks are falling into a crack in the system. People can’t stay at a shelter if they have a contagious illness. But there may be a solution.

Jodi Peterson with Interfaith Sanctuary says shelters like hers deal with contagious illness all the time.

“If a child has maybe strep throat or maybe RSV, getting urgent care for them to get them diagnosed and get them on the medication they need, they still can’t safely come back into our shelter until 24 hours after being on an antibiotic and what does that look like for a two-year-old child who is sick?” says Peterson.

She says that leaves the contagious person, and their family, on the street because the shelters can’t risk infecting the rest of their clients. In the past, shelters like Interfaith and the Boise Rescue Mission tried to piece together temporary solutions, like hotel rooms, for people.

Speaking on Idaho Matters, Jean Lockhart with the Mission says they’re working on a better plan.

“We need a facility where people can recover, not a medical facility, but a facility with quiet rooms where someone who’s contagious or a new mother or someone who’s going through chemo can go and just be quiet and we make sure they get their meals and get their meds,” says Lockhart.

Lockhart says the Boise Rescue Mission hopes to announce next week more details of their new facility to help people falling through the gap in shelter care.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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