Statement from the City Manager on Temporary Emergency Shelter

Statement from City Manager Louis A. DePasquale:

Throughout this Public Health crisis, I have worked closely with the City’s Public Health team to ensure that we are making the most informed decisions possible to protect the health and welfare of the entire Cambridge community. As part of that effort, we have been working to identify options to care for our homeless community or those unable to safely isolate or quarantine at their residence during this time.

Our goal was to identify a temporary emergency shelter location that would not take too long to prepare and would satisfy criteria laid out by our health care team.

After careful consideration and vetting of different options, City leaders, including Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Assaad Sayah, MD, Chief Public Health Officer Claude Jacob, and Police Commissioner Branville Bard, Jr., believe that the War Memorial Recreation Center is the only site ready and available to serve the emerging needs of this population and recommend its use for that purpose.

The War Memorial Recreation Center is already the City’s designated emergency shelter site and a certified shelter location. It has the physical infrastructure to suit public health needs, including a variety of separable spaces, and secure off street and underground drop off access. The War Memorial’s existing security design is easily augmentable utilizing a combination of private security for the interior and a dedicated team of Cambridge Police Officers to provide security for the surrounding community on a 24-hour basis. It is also close to the Cambridge Health Alliance.

As part of this planning, the Mayor and I have asked for and secured commitments from Harvard University and MIT to supplement additional classrooms, if needed, for CRLS if school is reconvened in May or June.

Given the rapidly changing conditions surrounding COVID-19, and with Cambridge experiencing its first death this week, we must act now. Addressing the immediate needs of our sheltered and unsheltered populations protects the entire Cambridge community, our first responders, and our health care providers from preventable COVID-19 exposure.

Read the full Emergency Task Force Site Recommendations (PDF)

Read the Message from Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale to Parents/Guardians of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School students (PDF)

Read the Emergency Order that War Memorial, Field House and Garage be Used for a Temporary Emergency Shelter, Dated April 3, 2020 (PDF)

Page was posted on 3/30/2020 3:09 PM
Page was last modified on 4/21/2020 11:01 AM
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