The Lynn YMCA transformed a newly renovated floor of its residences into a temporary overnight shelter to help to the Lynn Shelter Association and the City of Lynn better meet social distancing guidelines for its homeless population.

Officials from the City of Lynn Fire Department and Lynn Shelter Association worked over the weekend to set up 30 cots on the residence floor where shelter, meals, and supportive services will be provided to Lynn Shelter Association clients in need of temporary shelter.

The Lynn YMCA has operated housing for vulnerable populations, seniors, people with disabilities and low-income residents throughout its 150-year history. The facility currently offers affordable, safe housing for 45 residents and is equipped with a quarantine area for those who test positive or are symptomatic for COVID-19. Currently, the Lynn YMCA residences have seen only one case that was cleared last week.

“When the outbreak began, we immediately designated a quarantine room for our residents, so we are prepared.” says Andrea Baez, Senior Executive Director, Lynn YMCA. “We have strict social distancing guidelines in place for residents and staff working through this crisis. My hope is that offering emergency shelter to this vulnerable population will more quickly reduce the spread of the virus, and take some additional burden off of our city’s emergency and frontline workers.”

Clients staying at the YMCA are screened by medical personnel and staff. Those displaying symptoms are sheltered at different facilities.

Mayor Thomas McGee and Lynn City Officials brokered the partnership with the YMCA and Lynn Shelter Association to keep homeless residents safe during the COVID-19 crisis. The City is collaborating with other organizations and municipalities to open additional temporary shelters in an effort to properly distance its homeless population. The arrangement with the YMCA is set to last up to 3 months.

Data released by the Mayor’s office showed that coronavirus cases in Lynn spiked last week to well over 600 confirmed cases and 11 deaths. To curb the Mayor McGee instituted an overnight curfew between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., and ordered all residents to wear a face mask when entering essential businesses or public places.

“We needed space to keep our shelter residents safe during the pandemic. In the current situation, our overcrowded facility became a hazard, and social distancing close to impossible,” says Tom Lorello, Director of Clinical Operations, Lynn Shelter Association.  “After almost a month of searching for an alternative, we were getting desperate to decrease the census of the shelter. The YMCA expressed nothing but a willingness to help, and we are deeply grateful for this demonstration of true spirit of community service and partnership.”

People in need of assistance can contact the Lynn Shelter Association 781.581.0739.