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Temporary homeless shelter now open at Santa Maria High School during coronavirus pandemic

Santa Maria HS Shelter
KEYT
Volunteers walk into a temporary homeless shelter at Santa Maria High School.

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria now has a temporary shelter set up at Santa Maria High School for those experiencing homelessness.

The shelter at home order is posing challenges for those experiencing homelessness.

The high school is being used as an overflow from the Good Samaritan shelter.

This shelter is set up for 71 people. Sunday night, they housed around 20.

They are also able to accommodate pets and have received donations of pet kennels and pet food.

Other donations the shelter could use include socks, underwear and paper products.

The entrance is located off of Stowell Street at the school's gym. A security guard is standing by the gate to let people in.

County officials say the shelter is necessary to protect everyone's health.

"We're calling this 'safer in shelter,'" said Kimberlee Albers, Homeless Assistance Program Manager for the County of Santa Barbara. "If our unsheltered neighbors can have access to hand washing, and showers, and regular meals, and a safe place to sleep, that makes obviously them safer, as well as the whole community."

She said they are following CDC guidelines for sanitation. They are sanitizing the entire shelter twice a day. The beds are placed 10 to 12 feet apart.

All who enter must wash their hands first. They must also answer a few screening questions.

The shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To be admitted though, people need to arrive between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm.

The shelter will be open for the foreseeable future.

Community / Health / Santa Maria - North County

Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a reporter for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.