Springfield’s Safe to Sleep women’s shelter reopens after COVID-19 shutdown

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) — The overnight women’s shelter Safe to Sleep is back open this week in Springfield. It had shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe to Sleep is an overnight shelter providing a safe place for women 18 and older who have no place to sleep.

The first thing women will see when they walk in will be a screening station with a giant bottle of hand sanitizer and thermometers. As they reopen, they are taking everyone’s temperature upon arrival. Everyone also must wear a mask.

After women get past the entryway, they’ll also notice there are fewer beds available. Safe to Sleep’s capacity was nearly cut in half during the pandemic. Beds are now spaced six-feet apart, women must sleep in opposite directions, and there also can be only two people at a dining table at a time.

Safe to Sleep Director Kelly Harris said she just wanted these women to know and remember they have a support system. “I told you day 1, have we bailed on you yet? No,” Harris said of how she is trying to keep the women’s spirits up. “Even through a pandemic, they know that at least a few people have their back.”

When Safe to Sleep was shutdown, many of the women had to find temporary housing solutions outside of the shelter. Some were put up in hotels with help from One Door with Community Partnership of the Ozarks. It’s through One Door that Safe to Sleep is also able to do their vetting process, they use them as their referral system. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Harris said they need more volunteers, adding they lost nearly half of their volunteer force during the pandemic. Harris explained many of the volunteers fell into the high-risk age category. Safe to Sleep also has several staff positions open. If anyone is interested in either volunteering or applying for a position with the organization, you can contact Kelly Harris via email at [email protected]

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said there’s been one positive case from the homeless community during the pandemic.