Emmaus, City Erect Tent for Temporary Isolation Before Introducing Homeless to Shelter

Emmaus has erected the tent in the parking lot of the Emmaus Family Shelter, 150 How St., Haverhill. (Courtesy photograph.)

Interior of temporary Emmaus tent with room for up to 10 people. (Courtesy photograph.)

A large tent has been erected for homeless downtown as a temporary isolation area and could be placed into service within the next week.

Emmaus and the City of Haverhill, working in partnership with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, installed the lighted and heated 1,100 square-foot tent. Officials say it accommodates up to 10 people and includes handwashing stations and portable toilets. Each bed has 110-square feet around it to provide safe social-distancing. Emmaus’ CEO Jeanine Murphy said she has been concerned since mid-March about finding a way to quarantine guests before introducing them to the organization’s main site, Mitch’s Place.

“This is a temporary emergency tent that will allow us to safely quarantine new individuals who are seeking emergency shelter for at least 14 days prior to entering the main facility,” Murphy said. “It will be a new normal that will allow for us to provide shelter and essential services without risking the lives of others during this pandemic. This temporary structure is not for COVID-19 positive individuals.”

Mayor James J. Fiorentini also emphasized the tent will not house infected individuals.

Murphy also thanked Emmaus staff, calling them “the true heroes.” She added Emmaus hopes to keep this temporary shelter despite “our very stretched financial resources.” She asked those who may have vacant apartments or rooms to please contact Emmaus as the extra space is the only way to stop the spread is to ensure that all have a safe place to social-distance until this crisis is over.

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