Fort Worth Reflects on Convention Center’s 93 Days as a Shelter

John Liddle
July 04, 2020 - 10:55 am

    FORT WORTH (KRLD) - The City of Fort Worth just wrapped up a phenomenal three-month effort, turning the Fort Worth Convention Center, into an overflow shelter for those experiencing homelessness.

     "It almost became an emergency situation," says Richard Zavala, director of Fort Worth parks and recreation. 
     
    Because of social distancing requirements, space was more limited at centers that serve the homeless population of Fort Worth, so the city put the convention center's ample space to work. 
     
    "We were able to provide 93 nights of overflow sheltering, for what ended up being over 26,000 bed nights," Zavala says.
     
    Through screenings by JPS Health Network, the staff was able to ensure that only healthy individuals went into the "well sheltering." 
     
    And if someone had any symptoms, they were shifted to isolation areas, including 49 trailers that were set up around the outside of the convention center.
     
    In all, Zavala says, only 14 positive COVID-19 cases were logged over the 93 nights. And only three of those originated from the shelter. The rest were either from other shelters, or basically transferred after being confirmed at area hospitals.