Room in the Inn seeks help for homeless during COVID-19 situation
Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Through participating churches, Outer Banks Room in the Inn provides safe places to spend the night for the homeless men and women in Dare County. They also provide hot dinner and breakfast as well as a bagged lunch for their members.
Nancy Griffin, president of the board for Room in the Inn, said that the shelter normally moves from one participating church to another every week. Due to COVID-19, the shelter has decided to keep everyone at one central location to mitigate spread.
“Volunteers are coming in to help from other churches to that one church site,” Griffin explained.
Additional health guidelines have been instituted, including an increased amount of cleaning and sanitization measures as well as taking precautions while serving food.
The shelter season runs from November through the beginning of April. Starting April 5, the shelter will close for the season. In past years, participants have found seasonal work to get them through the summer. With the job market hindered due to COVID-19, Griffin is concerned.
“It makes it more challenging for our folks to find the seasonal work that they typically find,” Griffin said.
Griffin is also more worried now than ever that affordable housing will be extremely hard to come by. The shelter is looking for anyone willing to rent a room at an affordable rate to minimize the amount of people left at Room in the Inn.
“We don’t want them living out in the streets and being even more susceptible,” Griffin said. The shelter is seeking people willing to house a single individual for a temporary period of time.
The board usually takes the summer months to plan for their upcoming shelter season. With the rapidly changing nature of the situation surrounding the virus, Griffin said that may change. “We may have to change some of our priorities during that time,” she noted.
Griffin said the board is considering offering office hours throughout the summer season. These office visits are meant to have participants check-in and address any needs they may have.
With the uncertainty that lies ahead, Griffin said she does not know yet how the economy will impact whether or not the participants can work or find a place to live. “It’s hard to predict,” she said.
To learn more about Room in the Inn, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Room-In-The-Inn-Outer-Banks-105301804251431. For questions or to contact the Outer Banks Room in the Inn, call 252-255-1133.