BOISE, Idaho — While the coronavirus pandemic forces Americans across the country into self-quarantine and working from home, thousands of people and many in the Treasure Valley aren't able to do that. To help those who can't do that, the Interfaith Sanctuary and the Riverside Hotel have partnered up to give some of our community's most vulnerable people a place to stay.
Since COVID-19 started spreading across the globe, we've all been told to make sure to thoroughly wash our hands and practice social distancing, but for those who can't, Riverside Hotel is offering some people a second shelter during this time of need.
For 30 families, this Garden City hotel along the Boise River is giving people a new sanctuary while keeping the hotel busy.
"As you can imagine during this pandemic the hotel is pretty darn slow, no one is traveling, or commuting we don't have any groups in house," Kathy Pidgeon, the general manager of the Riverside Hotel, said, "and if you're familiar with the Riverside Hotel you know that we've got separate wings in the hotel so it's pretty easy for our hotel to find a place where Interfaith Sanctuary could just isolate their guests."
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Interfaith Sanctuary, a Boise-based homeless shelter, partnered with the hotel to help families with children and those with medical issues.
"We met with the City of Boise and Ada County to create an emergency plan and because of that, they were able to come up with some funding to actually pay for the rooms for our shelter," said Interfaith Sanctuary Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers. "So they're not free rooms, they're being funded during this emergency time and there's just a few rooms that are available for us to use."
The families have been staying at the Riverside Hotel since Thursday. Getting these families in need of a place to stay is something that has given Peterson-Stigers peace of mind.
"Our dorms are all open, so there are no walls to protect one person from another," she said, "and having newborn babies and elderly who are already on oxygen, watching them come into our shelter as this was all going on, it was kind of creating internal panic."
Back at the shelter, Peterson-Stigers said she and her staff are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of their guests. They're now checking temperatures, as well as wearing facemasks and gloves when handling food.
"We're doing everything we can to be preventative," she said.
Peterson-Stigers wants to stress that the Riverside Hotel is not another campus to serve the homeless. If someone is in need, they should still turn to places like the Boise Rescue Mission, City Lights, and the Interfaith Sanctuary.
We are continuing to update our comprehensive lists of school closures, event postponements, public building closures, as well as our list of Treasure Valley resources, including grocery store hours for at-risk community members.
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