New Transition Wellness Center Open at Spaulding Hospital: Will Serve as Temporary Adult Homeless Shelter for Non-COVID-19 Residents

Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale announced the opening of the Transition Wellness Center (TWC), a new temporary emergency homeless shelter at the Spaulding Hospital. Residents from the shelter at the War Memorial Recreational Center have to transition to the TWC.

The City-funded TWC will host 58 beds and serve as an adult homeless shelter for guests who test negative for COVID-19. It will be located on the first and second floors of the east wing of the Spaulding Hospital, which is located at 1575 Cambridge Street and was vacant prior to the renovations. The City of Cambridge will fund the entirety of the shelter operation. This project is federal CARES Act funding eligible and the City expects to submit approximately $3.4 million for reimbursement to support this critical initiative.

“I want to thank Spaulding Hospital for leasing the City part of its facility on Cambridge Street so that we could create the Transition Wellness Center. This temporary facility will allow the City to continue supporting our most vulnerable populations for the duration of the pandemic,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “Since April, the City has invested significant staff and financial resources to ensure people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge have access to critical support systems. I want to thank Mayor Siddiqui and Councillor McGovern for their leadership on our temporary shelter initiatives, and I want to thank the City’s Public Works team and Spaulding Hospital’s construction teams that have worked quickly to construct this new facility.”

“We remain committed to working with Bay Cove Human Services and will continue to provide the highest level of community safety as the shelter transitions to the Transition Wellness Center,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr. “The new location at Spaulding Hospital will have minimal impact on the neighboring community and is ideal for supporting our most vulnerable residents in need of these important facilities.”

“The Transition Wellness Center joins the Winter Warming Center, the Multi-Service Center and other Cambridge nonprofits in a shared mission to provide safe shelter for people experiencing homelessness and to connect them with resources that promote their wellbeing - especially during the winter months," said Ellen Semonoff, Assistant City Manager for Human Services. “The TWC’s opening is a testament to the tireless efforts of City staff, elected officials, our partners at Bay Cove, and local providers across the city."

“The more we can do to keep all Cambridge residents safe and healthy, the greater the chance we have to continue to mitigate the spread of this pandemic, including among those who experience homelessness," said Dr. Assaad Sayah, Commissioner of Public Health.

Arrangements to transition residents out of the temporary emergency shelter at the War Memorial Recreational Center were coordinated by Bay Cove Human Services. They focused on ensuring a seamless relocation for impacted residents to the TWC or Bay Cove’s CASPAR Emergency Services Center shelter at 240 Albany Street. With the transition complete, the temporary shelter at the War Memorial is being deconstructed and a deep, thorough cleaning conducted.

Additionally, the Cambridge Winter Warming Center opened on Tuesday, December 1 and will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through April 15, 2021. Located at 806 Massachusetts Avenue and accessible through the building’s Green Street entrance, the Warming Center provides a safe space for adults experiencing homelessness to rest, sleep and have access to beverages, a hot meal, and bathrooms during the winter months. At all times, the maximum capacity of the Warming Center will be 30 guests to allow for safe social distancing.

The temporary emergency shelter at the War Memorial, which opened in April 2020, helped the City address the urgent needs of Cambridge residents who were experiencing homelessness during the rapidly evolving COVID-19 public health crisis that emerged this spring. It allowed existing shelters to reduce overcrowding to make guests in all of Cambridge's shelters safer and to provide a site that guests who were leaving the shelters could move to. The War Memorial also provided important shelter for guests who had been served by seasonal shelters that were closing such as the Warming Center and Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.

For additional information about the new Transition Wellness Center, please visit the dedicated webpage: https://www.cambridgema.gov/covid19/transitionwellnesscenter. Any community questions or concerns can be directed to 311@cambridgema.gov or by calling 617-349-9770.

Page was posted on 12/16/2020 1:39 PM
Page was last modified on 12/22/2020 9:58 AM
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